LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Louisvillians are voicing support for the new Instagram and Facebook policy to hide posts that promote dieting and cosmetic procedures from users under 18. The social media platform claims it's an effort to make it a positive space. However, some feel efforts should go further to disable the 'like' feature.
- Instagram will hide posts and ads with miraculous diet and weight loss claims, and promotions for cosmetic procedures, from anyone under 18.
- One Louisville psychiatrist backs the new policy but feels the 'like' feature should be next to go.
- One Louisville dietitian feels social media has led to eating disorders in young people.
Parent Patti Norton scrolls through her Instagram feed. It doesn't take long to find a promotion for the keto diet. "Everything on my social media is about how I can get skinny!" she laughs.
Norton is the mother to three children: an 18-year-old son, a 15-year-old daughter, and a 10-year-old son. "It's okay, just be who you are! Be a good person on the inside, and it will show on the outside. That's what we're shooting for," Norton tells them.
That's why she's pleased with the new Instagram policy. In the age of constant connectivity and 24-hour access to information and people online, she's just glad ads promoting dieting aren't directly in her daughter's face on social media.
Dr. Alphonso Nichols feels there's another change necessary. Nichols sees children and teens with self-image issues linked to social media, he says.
"Just this week, I had a young lady who- her story was, she came in- and things were going okay, then she didn't get enough 'likes' and all of a sudden just at the drop of a hat, the rest of her day was just downhill from there," Nichols says.
Nichols feels the need many teens have to get a high volume of 'likes' can lead to negative impacts on mental health.
"It's like when you eat sugar cubes. You know you feel really good for about 20 minutes. Then, you find out just how empty it is and you kind of crash," Nichols says.
Dietitian Natalie Senninger is also praising the Instagram policy. She says it can directly impact her clients' desires to be thin, lose weight, or for some, eating disorders. She feels social media as a whole has fueled that. She's on Instagram and Facebook to try to push positive plating and healthy eating and doesn't support any kind of miracle diet claims like the posts now hidden from young eyes.
"You know, when you're still a teenager, you're still a kid. You're still growing. You're still changing. So, I don't think they need to be seeking out certain weight loss programs and dieting programs," says Senninger.
She adds that some weight loss methods can "interfere with growth, hormones, development, and they can kind of damage their metabolism at a young age too, dieting too early."