Australian teenagers as young as 14 are taking extreme measures including vomiting or taking laxatives to control their weight.
A new government study found, while a very small minority of mid-adolescents met the criteria for anorexia or bulimia, significant numbers had taken action to try and control their weight.
Social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat were considered the most persuasive on young minds.
Cyber safety expert Ross Bark said the role of social media influencers, who post their desirable, but often unrealistic lives online, are a new phenomenon impacting young consumers.
“They’re effectively being driven to be like these influencers when in fact it’s impossible for them to do so. So we’re seeing a dramatic upturn in kids that a lot of anxiety and mental health issues because of that,” Mr Bark said.