“Spilling the tea” on generation Z social media use and body image

Allison Kiefner-Burmeister, Sarah Domoff, Hayley Waltz, Alli Jacobs, Clarissa Ramirez, Claire C. Heilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over ninety percent of American teens and the majority of children have smartphones. As access to social media increases so does the growing concern for the psychological well-being of today's youth. The current cross-sectional study examined the media use, appearance pressure, and body image of 150 Midwestern American Generation Z (born in 1997–2012) youth. This study assessed media use by child-report, parent-report, and by gathering data directly from the child's smartphone. Results demonstrated that media use was higher in teens than children, but did not suggest strong gender differences. The data also showed the inconsistencies present in media use reporting, with parents overestimating the amount of time their children spend on phones. Media use was found to be unrelated to body image. Media pressure and social media integration into participants’ social routines were intercorrelated and higher in the older age groups than the younger ones. Media pressure and media use was found to be less gendered than expected, but greatly shifted with age. Time spent on social media may be less influential on body image than the content of the media being consumed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Development
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • body Image
  • childhood
  • gen Z
  • media
  • social media


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