Social media is supposed to be where we’re always connected, but away from her screen Danielle Konsky says she was in a much more lonely place.
“Posting a photo and maybe not getting the number of likes you wanted and putting it on your body,” Konsky explained.
Konsky was in high school when she began battling an eating disorder, but he hit the crest in college.
“I limited my food intake. I compared to girls that I was friends with, “Konsky said.” I weighed 82 pounds when my mom said, ‘You know, that’s not healthy. It’s not normal.’
Konsky says social media was a trigger for her.
“I think a huge thing for me was the opinion of men and if they liked my photos, and they explained to me on Snapchat what that meant to me,” she recalls.
“There seems to be such a need on our helpline to have support for young people who have stayed home during the pandemic, very isolated, in their homes and focused on social media,” said Lynn Slawsky of ANAD.
The organization’s helpline connects people in difficulty, like Konsky, with resources. The organization also organizes support groups, hoping to help the estimated 30 million Americans with eating disorders.
The ANAD toll-free hotline can be reached at (888) 375-7767.
“It’s not going to go away. The sure ‘put your phone’ approach isn’t necessarily going to help, ”said Annie Margaret, who teaches at the ATLAS Institute and the University of Colorado Boulder.
Margaret is looking for a better way to introduce young people to life online.
In the summer of 2022, she will host a digital wellness program for students aged 11 to 18. She says older students are often already addicted.
Executives at social media platforms say they are working on features to protect users who may be struggling with body image issues. One of these ways is that you can now choose to hide likes on your Instagram account.
“It’s been helpful to me, and seeing other people who have put the same account on because it really shows why he’s there to start.” What do the likes mean and what is the achievable number for it? Konsky said.
There is no perfect textbook for parenting, especially when it comes to social media.
“I try a lot to educate myself because I am Danielle’s source of comfort,” said Konsky’s mother Michelle.
Konsky says she’s worked with therapists and nutritionists to come up with a healthier place today.
“I think I always wanted to be a helper before my struggles, and to experience it and come out of it, I feel like a goal to do it,” Konsky said.
Konsky is now studying at Columbia University in New York to become a mental health counselor and wants to help others who struggle in a world where social connection is often sought after online.