A worrying new hashtag that is sweeping social media.

Research by the University of Exeter, published the info in the Journal of Eating Disorders,  after finding that hundreds of young women are using Instagram and Twitter to search for anorexic bodies using the hashtag “bonespiration.”

Catherine Talbot, a psychologist at Exeter University Medical School, and her team analysed 734 images that used the hashtag and found that just over a quarter contained protruding hip bones, 2 percent showed protruding ribs, and just over a fifth (22 percent) collarbones, while 6 percent showed the spine.

Back in 2012, social media sites banned the use of certain hashtags, such as “thinspiration” and “thinspo” that could be seen as promoting eating disorders.

The research team revealed they had discovered 140,000 images on Instagram linked to “bonespiration.”

“Anorexia and extreme weight loss is a serious social and medical problem, said Dr Talbot”

“To tackle this social contagion we need to be aware of the social media platforms being used by young people — mainly girls and young women — which is encouraging extreme weight loss. This behavior could seriously damage their psychological and physical health.”

“Teenagers need to be taught about positive body image in schools, and we need to build resilience.”

Dr Michael Carr said on Sunrise today that social media platforms need to take more responsibility and help prevent these harmful trends.

Signs of eating disorder

  • Constant or repetitive dieting
  • Evidence of binge eating
  • Evidence of vomiting or laxative abuse
  • Excessive exercise

If you are concerned check your child’s social media pages. Safety trumps privacy if you are worried.

Seek medical advice if you think your child has an eating disorder.

Does this terrify you?

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  • I hate seeing hashtags etc that are hurtful to others.


  • It seems social media does more harm than good.


  • I think it’s sad in general when people aren’t happy in their body and don’t feel accepted and happy with who they are.
    Whether you’re fat or skinny, have floppy ears, crooked teeth, thin or no hair, acne or pimples.
    To teach our children to accept and respect who they are, we really have to live that out ourselves as well. When we shine our inner beauty, we will inspire our children.

    • Well said – perceived outer beauty will fade over time anyway and a person is left with their inner beauty. Inner beauty is enduring too. :)


  • This is horrifying to me. It’s so sad how things take off online nowadays, the good bad and the ugly. Hopefully it drops off and disappears quick


  • The youth of today (and even some of the not so young) need to realise true beauty lies within.


  • This article saddens me and the whole hashtag and social media sharing is very sad.


  • That’s so sad. A skinny body is not necesseraly a healthy body.


  • In more ways then one! I’m sick of seeing so called dangerous “trends” like these. Its terrifying because As adults we have the ability to see it as harmful where as a younger person may see this as a challenge or something that inspires them.


  • What is the world coming too and what are we teaching our kids!? Such a sad world.


  • very scary indeed!


  • Before I had a baby I was naturally really skinny. I had visible hip bones and ribs and collarbone. The works. I had a thigh gap ffs! I’m not going to lie, I miss being skinny. I’m stuck at size 12 and I feel like a whale because I remember all the bits that weren’t squishy. But it takes quite a bit of work just maintaining this size and I refuse to starve myself or sacrifice my time with my son for something that only bothers me.


  • It is a worry, we sure don’t need bones to be sticking out, is not beauty, nor appealing. We should just concentrate on being ‘healthy’.


  • Yes this is a concern and very scary.


  • Yes, this is quite concerning. This could spiral into something even bigger.


  • I would be quite happy if we just stopped sing hash tags.


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