It is critical to examine the powerful socializing effects of networked media on early adolescents when social media use, body self-consciousness, and social comparisons are at their peak.
Using 2 subsamples (N = 374 and N = 396) of those aged 11 to 14 years from a larger survey sample of 700 middle school participants in the Northeast United States, we conducted a cross-sectional pilot survey using brief, descriptive body dissatisfaction measures directly related to social media use.
Within our body dissatisfaction subsample, 19% reported dissatisfaction to body image issues. Participants' most common concerns around body image included not being thin enough, not attractive enough, and feeling dissatisfaction with body shape, hair, and face. The results from analysis of covariance analyses showed that those reporting social media–related body dissatisfaction checked their social media more frequently. When compared with those who did not feel negatively about their body image because of social media, those who did had higher rates of depressive symptoms, had online social anxiety, had found it harder to make new friends, and were more socially isolated. Those who followed celebrities checked social media more frequently and were more likely to have depressive symptoms and online social anxiety.
There may be negative socioemotional health consequences of early adolescent social media users with exposure to particular sources of social media content, such as photographs of celebrities.