Zara McDermott has said that social media has played "a massive part" in the rise of eating disorders, warning that it can be "dangerous" for children ahead of her new BBC Three documentary.


The docu-film, titled Disordered Eating, will be McDermott's third documentary for BBC Three, with the hour-long special looking at the increase in young people being admitted to hospital for eating disorders.

Speaking to the Radio Times magazine podcast View From My Sofa, the former Love Island star said that parents should be protecting their children from encountering dangerous content online.

"[Social media] has played a massive part [in the rise of eating disorders] as you're constantly comparing yourself to others," she said.

"Parents should definitely be monitoring their child’s social media. Otherwise it’s like sending them out on a busy road with a blindfold on. It’s dangerous. You should be updating preferences on apps so that it’s a much more locked-down, streamlined account."

McDermott added that she decided to explore disordered eating as a documentary topic after followers shared their stories with her on social media.

"The idea came from seeing other people’s battles. Having a large number of followers online means people share their stories with me – especially because of my films," she explained.

"I quickly recognised that so many young people are going through bad relationships with themselves, food and exercise, and I wanted to look into that.

"Unpacking traumatic experiences is something that comes with the job and I don’t take it lightly – but I don’t want to make it about me. I don’t ever want to take away from the incredible contributors who are so brave and wonderful to share their stories with me."

McDermott rose to fame after competing in the fourth season of Love Island and went on to focus on fronting authored documentaries, presenting Zara McDermott: Revenge Porn and Zara McDermott: Uncovering Rape Culture last year.

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For more information and support for those affected by the issues in this article, please visit eating disorder charity Beat's website or contact its dedicated helplines.

Zara McDermott: Disordered Eating airs on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer at 9pm on Tuesday 22nd November. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.


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