Skip to main content

Researchers at Loughborough University have teamed up with UK charity Beat to create an animated video that explores how social media affects people with eating disorders.

The animation explores both positive and negative social media experiences and provides helpful advice.

The short, released today (Monday, September 13), examines how social media can be both harmful and helpful, and provides helpful advice for those who are negatively affected by what they see online and to support the restoring.

Produced by A Dozen Eggs, an up and coming design firm by Loughborough graduates, and funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, the animation is based on research by Dr. Paula Saukko, a social science reader and criminology medicine reader. , sociology and the social policy department.

Dr Saukko, together with Dr Val Mitchell from Loughborough and Dr Helen Malson, from the Eating Disorders Health Integration Team, Bristol, interviewed 31 people with various eating disorders during the pandemic – a time that saw an increase in social media use and mental health issues.

The team then worked with Beat to translate the research results into a video.

The video was co-produced with ambassadors Beat Adam Gil, Bre Blackboro, Kel O’Neill and Vicki Butler and incorporates their testimonials on the use of social media.

Commenting on the project, Dr Saukko said: “It has been a real pleasure to work on such a practical and creative project and on an important subject with the inspiring teams of Beat and a dozen eggs.

“Using the easy multimedia possibilities of social media to chat is essential for staying in touch and receiving support when you’re not feeling well, especially since eating disorders are often socially isolating.

“However, social media encourages users to compare themselves to others in terms of appearance or success and fosters constant engagement, responses and insecurities when others don’t respond or react.”

She continued, “The video gives the best advice on how to keep boundaries on social media by not following content about diets or that feeds negative thoughts and consumption and interacting with friends by putting on. muted or turning off when you feel overwhelmed.

“We hope the video encourages people with or at risk for eating disorders to think about their use of social media and adopt some tips to avoid the harm and make the most of their benefits to aid recovery. “

Dr Saukko and his team will assess the video’s impact on engagement and user experience with Beat after release.

Colette Mullings, Head of Marketing at Beat, said: “We were extremely pleased to collaborate with A Dozen Eggs and Loughborough University on this exciting opportunity to provide advice to people with eating disorders on use of digital media and learn how they engage with the recommendations. .

“Social media has been both a help and a hindrance for those we support: we know that irresponsible content can be very damaging to people who are sick or vulnerable to eating disorders, but at the same time we We often hear about people benefiting from recovery support communities, especially during the pandemic.

“We look forward to the results and hope the video encourages viewers to continue engaging with positive communities, but also to turn off when needed.”

If you are worried about your health or someone else’s, you can contact Beat, the UK Food Agency. troubled charity, 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677 or beateatingdisorders.org.uk

Notes for Editors

Press Release Reference Number: 21/196

Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links to industry and unparalleled achievements in sport and its underlying academic disciplines. .

It has been awarded five stars in the independent university grading system QS Stars, named the world’s best university for sports-related subjects in the QS 2021 World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University. Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of all national rankings, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 7th in the UK Complete University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty UK universities in the Times Higher Education ‘Table of Tables’ and in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of her contribution to the sector, Loughborough received seven Queen’s Birthday Awards

The campus of Loughborough University in London is based on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive level education, as well as research and entrepreneurial opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of education and the very latest in modern thinking.

To beat

Beat is the UK’s leading eating disorder charity. 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder at any time, and they impact people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Our mission is to end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders. Our national helpline and online support exist to encourage and enable people to get help quickly, because we know that the sooner a person begins treatment, the better their chances of recovery. We campaign to increase the knowledge of healthcare professionals and to secure funds for high quality treatment, so that when people are brave enough to take vital steps towards recovery, the right help is available to them. The work we do means that every year lives are saved, families stay together, and people can live without eating disorders.