Psychiatrist calls for Instagram and Facebook to be banned for all under 18s

Instagram and Facebook should be banned for the under-18s, a psychiatrist has claimed.

Dr Max Pemberton slammed the "corrupting" effect of social media on young people which he says contributes to eating disorders.

He blasted stars like Kim Kardashian who he said have made fortunes by posting "airbrushed" images on the sites.

And he claimed this is fuelling “the epidemic of poor self-esteem and mental health problems gripping young women”.

He said the platforms have turned into a "monster" and he worries more about the effect they have than violent films or porn, as they bombard teens with “unrealistic ideas” about appearance.

The NHS psychiatrist said he sees the effect of social media on youngsters every day in his clinic.

Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “Not only are they corrupting and warping the minds of an entire generation of innocent young people, they are getting paid in the process.”

Over 10 years, he said he saw hundreds of teenage patients for eating disorders and every single one told him social media was a contributing factor.

Although the disorders are complex, he said social media platforms have created a “hyper-critical environment” around body image which can trigger issues with food.

He said they also have a negative effect on self-esteem and self-worth.

Dr Pemberton added: “We worry about the effect of things such as porn and violent films and video games, but I worry more about Instagram and Facebook precisely because they seem so innocuous.

“What some fail to appreciate is that these platforms have morphed into a monster, and the effect of seeing a steady stream of artificially perfect bodies is enormous.”

Facebook and Instagram currently require users to be 13-years-old before joining, but he called for it to be extended to 18 as teens are developing and “susceptible to malignant messages” about their bodies.

Dr Pemberton wrote: “If celebrities really cared about social media's toxic effect, this is the campaign they'd get behind.”

He said he has also seen an increase in young men using steroids in a bid to “replicate the chiselled torsos they now think are perfectly normal”.

The psychiatrist added: “There's no escaping it: it promotes feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.”

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has been approached for comment.

Representatives for Kim Kardashian have also been approached for comment.

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