In the wake of the Tide Pod Challenge, you’d have thought that young people online would have become more conservative in way that they use the internet. But the latest craze to sweep across the World Wide Web is evidence that no lessons have been learned.
Over that past week, the ‘Cinderella Diet Challenge’ has grown alarmingly popular online as teens take desperate measures to lose weight. Inspired by the tiny waists of Disney princesses, young people are using websites such as Twitter to promote their crash diets.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that extreme dieting has found a home online. Since the dawn of the internet, there have been forums, articles and chat rooms dedicated to extreme weight loss. In 2012, Tumblr came under fire for appearing to ignore the dark side of its community after thousands of ‘pro-anorexia’ blogs were exposed by mental health activists. The blogs, which published romanticized images of skeletal bodies, encouraged young people to starve themselves in order to be like their favorite celebrity – often with sinister results.
Shortly after this scandal was revealed, Instagram banned keywords such as ‘anorexia’, ‘thigh gap’ and ‘thinspiration’ from being used as hashtags in order to thwart attempts made by young people to use the site as a platform for ‘pro-anorexia’.