Technology Tuesday: Hashtag Alert: #proana

Have you ever seen this hashtag on an instagram or a twitter feed?  Have you ever seen it on your child’s social media?  If so, it’s time for a conversation—and maybe even some additional resources...

Pro Ana is a movement that has been around for years.  I saw my first client who was using the phrases Pro Ana and Pro Mia probably 10 years ago.  But thanks to social media and the internet, they’ve taken on a life of their own.

Pro Ana refers to anorexia.  It’s now a hashtag that’s trending with alarming regularity.  There are Pro Ana twitter feeds, instagram accounts, and websites.  Just google Pro Ana and you will be alarmed at what shows up on your computer.  Pro, obviously, is a positive term.  They’re promoting anorexia….basically, teaching others how to adopt the lifestyle—or we would say, profoundly dangerous addiction.  Pro Mia is the same for bulimia.

Keep an eye out for the hashtag and for the phrase on your child’s social media use and internet history.  If you find any evidence or him or her looking or using any Pro Ana or Mia resources, have a conversation.  Ask your child what is going on.  Listen, more than you talk.  And then seek outside resources.  I can’t say enough how an eating disorder is one of—if not the most—difficult addiction I ever watch kids (or adults) struggle to overcome.  We don’t want them developing it blindly out of their own attention-seeking, or comparison-driven needs, just because it’s trendy.  We especially don’t want them to do so when we’re missing it because we aren’t tech savvy enough to understand the hashtags.  

Talk to your kids, but don’t talk to them about their weight.  Social media is enough pressure…they don’t need ours, as well.  We’ll be sharing more about that in upcoming blogs.  Eating disorders are trendy today—and a trend that changes the course of their lives in really painful ways.  We want to do everything we can to help kids have a healthy attitude about their lives and bodies.  We want them to believe they’re handsome—and beautiful—and that it’s so much more about who they are than how they look.  The trends are telling them something drastically—and dangerously different.  They need us to pay attention to their online accounts, but much more importantly, their hearts.  Stay connected—to them and to for more resources and information!