Obese kids are often ridiculed online

The obese are frequent targets for cyberbullies. NBC Right Now, October 3, 2014.

An article that ties together two problems related to the media. The first is obesity in childhood and adolescence, a problem on the rise in America and the West. Significant causal factors are over-eating of high caloric foods and the sedentary life of so many of our youth. Both of these factors are related to over-consumption of the media by American youth.

But this article stresses how these overweight youth are often ridiculed and cyber-bullied though social media engines like Facebook and Twitter. Being overweight is so common in America and yet those who suffer it are stigmatized, jeered at, demeaned. When such ridiculing happens, the victimized person often feels worse about him or herself. He or she feels socially isolated, less popular, more ostracized.

So is set in play a vicious cycle. The obese child or adolescent feels friendless, isolated, very, very alone. And in this state, he or she responds by doing what feels good, namely over-eating. This behavior only worsens the problem already at center stage. Many over-weight teens and preteens have told me that eating makes them feel good. They just feel momentarily better. But very quickly they lapse into self-loathing. And so their bad feelings worsen, and they are tempted to eat more.

What is now added to this cycle of self-abuse is the sense of those on the Internet crowding around them, jeering at them, and rubbing their obesity in their face.