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National Eating Disorders Association Partners With Tumblr

03-01-2012 04:41 AM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: National Eating Disorders Association

/ PR Agency: Greenleaf & Associates
NEW YORK CITY — The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) applauds Tumblr, the popular microblogging platform and social networking website, for taking a stand against the promotion of eating disorders on its site.

Through its Media Watchdog program – which voices concerns about dangerous media messages – NEDA is now working with Tumblr to assist them in flagging pro-ana/mia (short for pro-anorexia/bulimia) websites and to create language for directing individuals (who are using key search terms associated with these sites) to resources and help. Tumblr expressed their dedication to removing content that could trigger those susceptible to an eating disorder or further entrench the illness for those struggling, stating that they want to “do the right thing.” All complaints received by Tumblr will be accorded high-priority handling. Additionally Tumblr will help promote National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 26-March 3, encouraging its 40 million users to get involved.

In February 2011, NEDA was also invited to align with Facebook in an advisory capacity to help the company establish policies regarding reporting, flagging and removing individuals or groups – as well as photos, wall posts or statuses – that promote unhealthy behavior related to body image and eating disorders.

Support from industry giants like Tumblr and Facebook are critical. In a recent study from the University of Haifa, Israel, researchers found that the more time adolescent girls spend in front of popular social media sites, the more apt they are to develop an eating disorder. According to the medical industry website EatingDisordersReview.com, one private residential treatment center for eating disorders in suburban Chicago reports that a third to half of its young adult patients actively use social networking sites to support their eating disorders.

“The Internet is an amazing resource,” commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, “But for all that is positive, there are also negatives and the potential for abuse. We applaud Tumblr for taking pro-ana/mia concerns seriously and working to eliminate such damaging online activities … and for their assistance in getting people to the help they need. Eating disorders are deadly illnesses, not lifestyle choices.”

“Tumblr is committed to protecting our users’ freedom of speech, even when it’s uncomfortable or controversial,” said Andrew McLaughlin, V.P., Tumblr. “At the same time, we firmly believe that the active promotion or glorification of self-harm is just plain wrong. While we very much want Tumblr to be a place where those struggling with these difficult conditions can find solace, community, dialogue, and understanding, we don't want Tumblr to be a place that hosts blogs dedicated to triggering self-harm. So we have revised our Community Guidelines to not only prohibit such blogs, but also to inform and protect our users wherever possible. We are committed to working with NEDA, an organization that shares our belief that online dialogue about these complicated issues is critical and has done exceptional work through their Media Watchdog program.”

Also in response to social networking abuse concerns, NEDA recently launched Proud2Bme.org, a much-needed and long-overdue “safe space” on the online landscape, dedicated to promoting self-esteem and body image among U.S. teens. The site is based on the successful Dutch site (Proud2Bme.nl, launched in May 2009), which has been visited by more than 2.5 million visitors from 149 countries.

“It’s never too soon,” continues Grefe, “to lead by example and teach our children to embrace who they are and love the body they’re in. Studies have repeatedly shown us that low self-esteem is a leading factor in kids experiencing anxiety and depression, to drug use and – among those predisposed – in developing an eating disorder. Kids are bombarded every day with unreal “ideal” body images in the media … and mixed messages in our diet-obsessive world. It’s clear now more than ever that engaging teens is a crucial part of our mission.”

Proud2Bme provides youth with a positive, fun, interactive environment to learn, connect with others and take action for personal and social change. Through engaging content and community features, this unique online space offers news about entertainment, fashion, beauty and other relevant pop culture in a safe, age-appropriate environment. Additionally, there are forums and chat rooms where teens are able to interact and make new friends. In developing the site, teens (ages 13-17) were asked to help identify top issues impacting them and their peers, relating to teen body image, self-esteem, media impact and disordered eating. Additionally, several teens are acting in an ongoing editorial advisory capacity to the site.

For Treatment Referrals, Visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
Or Contact NEDA’s Live Helpline: 800-931-2237
Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST)

Contacts:
Greenleaf & Associates — 323-660-5800
Vicki Greenleaf — vicki@greenleafandassociates.com
Karen Brundage — karen@greenleafandassociates.com

Available for Interviews:
• Lynn Grefe, President and CEO of NEDA.
• Doctors, psychologists & other eating disorder treatment specialists throughout the country.
• Recovered eating disorder patients.
• NEDA ambassadors.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org

National Eating Disorders Association
165 W. 46th St., #402
New York, NY 10036
Karen Brundage

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