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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 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.

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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 Launches Beta Version if its in-app Shopping Feature in US

Instagram's plans on rolling out the feature globally remain unclear

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FILE - The Instagram icon is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

Facebook-owned photo messaging app Instagram has launched the beta version of its in-app shopping feature in the US that would allow over a billion users to buy products tagged in images or videos without having to leave the platform.

Called “Checkout with Instagram”, the feature would allow US users to shop from over 20 brands including Adidas, Kylie Cosmetics and Warby Parker, without re-directing users to other websites.

“We will introduce a selling fee to help fund programmes and products that help make checkout possible, as well as offset transaction-related expenses,” TechCrunch quoted an Instagram spokesperson as saying on Tuesday.

The photo-messaging app would charge sellers making sales an undisclosed amount of fee.

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Instagram could help you reach your target audiences better through shares and other aspects of personal marketing.

“We aren’t sharing the specific number right now. We are testing a selling fee with businesses during the closed beta. It will not change the price of the items for consumers,” the spokesperson said.

Checkout tags would appear on feed posts, Stories and Explore content from the brands in the closed beta that Instagram plans to eventually open to more businesses.

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For now, those who use Instagram’s shopping feature can pay with PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover, the report added.

Instagram’s plans on rolling out the feature globally remain unclear. (IANS)