Through its Media Watchdog program – which voices concerns about dangerous media messages – NEDA is now working with Tumblr to assist them in flagging pro-ana/mia (short for pro-anorexia/
In February 2011, NEDA was also invited to align with Facebook in an advisory capacity to help the company establish policies regarding reporting, flagging and removing individuals or groups – as well as photos, wall posts or statuses – that promote unhealthy behavior related to body image and eating disorders.
Support from industry giants like Tumblr and Facebook are critical. In a recent study from the University of Haifa, Israel, researchers found that the more time adolescent girls spend in front of popular social media sites, the more apt they are to develop an eating disorder. According to the medical industry website EatingDisordersReview.com, one private residential treatment center for eating disorders in suburban Chicago reports that a third to half of its young adult patients actively use social networking sites to support their eating disorders.
“The Internet is an amazing resource,” commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, “But for all that is positive, there are also negatives and the potential for abuse. We applaud Tumblr for taking pro-ana/mia concerns seriously and working to eliminate such damaging online activities … and for their assistance in getting people to the help they need. Eating disorders are deadly illnesses, not lifestyle choices.”
“Tumblr is committed to protecting our users’ freedom of speech, even when it’s uncomfortable or controversial,”
Also in response to social networking abuse concerns, NEDA recently launched Proud2Bme.org, a much-needed and long-overdue “safe space” on the online landscape, dedicated to promoting self-esteem and body image among U.S. teens. The site is based on the successful Dutch site (Proud2Bme.nl, launched in May 2009), which has been visited by more than 2.5 million visitors from 149 countries.
“It’s never too soon,” continues Grefe, “to lead by example and teach our children to embrace who they are and love the body they’re in. Studies have repeatedly shown us that low self-esteem is a leading factor in kids experiencing anxiety and depression, to drug use and – among those predisposed – in developing an eating disorder. Kids are bombarded every day with unreal “ideal” body images in the media … and mixed messages in our diet-obsessive world. It’s clear now more than ever that engaging teens is a crucial part of our mission.”
Proud2Bme provides youth with a positive, fun, interactive environment to learn, connect with others and take action for personal and social change. Through engaging content and community features, this unique online space offers news about entertainment, fashion, beauty and other relevant pop culture in a safe, age-appropriate environment. Additionally, there are forums and chat rooms where teens are able to interact and make new friends. In developing the site, teens (ages 13-17) were asked to help identify top issues impacting them and their peers, relating to teen body image, self-esteem, media impact and disordered eating. Additionally, several teens are acting in an ongoing editorial advisory capacity to the site.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
For Treatment Referrals, Visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
Or Contact NEDA’s Live Helpline: 800-931-
Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST)
Greenleaf & Associates — 323-660-5800
Vicki Greenleaf — firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Brundage — email@example.com
Available for Interviews:
• Lynn Grefe, President and CEO of NEDA.
• Doctors, psychologists & other eating disorder treatment specialists throughout the country.
• Recovered eating disorder patients.
• NEDA ambassadors.