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Here’s How Exposure to Instagram Can Ruin Children’s Eating Habit

The results suggest that the marketing of unhealthy foods, via vloggers' Instagram pages, increases children's immediate energy intake

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Instagram
Instagram app logo is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

Making children eat healthy food can test the patience of parents. The exposure of children to social media platforms such as photo-sharing app Instagram could make the job even tougher for them, suggests a new study.

The findings published in the journal Pediatrics showed that children who view unhealthy snack images on social media platforms are likely to consume more calories from unhealthy snacks.

“The results are supported by celebrity endorsement data, which show unhealthy food endorsements increase children’s unhealthy food intake, but healthy food endorsements have little or no effect on healthy food intake,” said researcher Anna Coate from the University of Liverpool in Britain.

The study was conducted with the aim of examining the effect of social media marketing of snack foods (healthy and unhealthy), via vloggers’ Instagram pages, on children’s snack intake.

During the study 176 children, aged between 9 and 11 years, were randomly split into three equal groups and were shown artificially created, but realistic, Instagram pages of popular vloggers (each has millions of followers).

One group was shown images of the vlogger with unhealthy snacks, the second group was shown images of the vlogger with healthy snacks and the third group was shown images of the vlogger with non-food products.

Social Media
Chiara Valenzano, right, photographs her food as she has lunch with her friend Giulia Terranova at the ‘This is not a Sushi bar’ restaurant, in Milan, Italy, Oct. 16, 2018. At the restaurant, payment can be made according to the number of Instagram followers one has. VOA

The participants’ subsequent intake of snacks (healthy and unhealthy options) were measured.

Children in the group that viewed the unhealthy snack images consumed 32 per cent more calories from unhealthy snacks specifically and 26 per cent more calories in total — from healthy and unhealthy snacks — compared with children who saw the non-food images, the findings showed.

The results suggest that the marketing of unhealthy foods, via vloggers’ Instagram pages, increases children’s immediate energy intake.

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“Young people trust vloggers more than celebrities so their endorsements may be even more impactful and exploitative,” Coates said.

“Tighter restrictions are needed around the digital marketing of unhealthy foods that children are exposed to, and vloggers should not be permitted to promote unhealthy foods to vulnerable young people on social media,” she added. (IANS)

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Instagram to Allow Users to Have More Control Over their Personal Information

A user could restrict someone by swiping left on a comment, through the Privacy tab in Settings or directly on the profile of the account you intend to restrict

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Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone, March 13, 2019, in New York. VOA

Facebook-owned Instagram on Tuesday announced a new feature which will allow users to have control over the personal information they share with third-parties through the app and it will be rolling out gradually over the next six months.

A user can navigate to Settings -> Security -> Apps and Websites to see which third-party services have access to their data.

“It is essential that we protect the data people share with us. We also want to give people more control over the data they share with other apps and services,” the company said in a statement.

Instagram will also be rolling out an “updated authorisation screen” that will notify users when a third-party app is requesting to use data.

facebook privacy
FILE – The Instagram icon is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

“To ensure you know what specific data third parties are requesting from you, we are also introducing an updated authorization screen that lists all the information the third party is requesting to access. You’ll have the option to “cancel” or “authorize” this access directly from the authorisation screen,” the company added.

Also Read: Bengaluru to be Remapped as Satellite Images Show Variations

Instagram has also rolled out a new mode called “Restrict” globally that would let users stop people who bully them via offensive posts or abusive comments.

A user could restrict someone by swiping left on a comment, through the Privacy tab in Settings or directly on the profile of the account you intend to restrict. (IANS)