Safer Internet Day 2022

Celebrated on 8 February this year, “Safer Internet Day” invites the community to collectively identify, create and promote safer internet practices. The internet provides individuals recovering from an eating disorder with a means to access to resources which aid education and support. Importantly, the internet can reach a wide population that may otherwise be limited geographically or financially. Additionally, online platforms provide individuals wishing to remain anonymous with the opportunity to participate, which may make a huge difference in their recovery journey.

The field of “e-therapy”, defined as ongoing online interactions between a therapist and client, has become increasingly prevalent (Moore 2021). Developed in 2020, InsideOut Institute’s “Binge Eating e-therapy Program (BEeT) is an online program which targets binge eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa (InsideOut 2022). Structured as a free 12-week course, virtual therapist ‘Claudia’ guides individuals through evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy programs, aimed to develop and reinforce positive behaviours and attitudes (InsideOut 2020). A key goal of the program is to offer early intervention to prevent symptoms from escalating (InsideOut 2020).

Similarly, smart phone apps can encourage positive change by monitoring and understanding habits and improving mental health. Timmons (2020) recommends Recovery Record: Eating Disorder Management as a smart companion with professional treatment to aid recovery. Additionally, Mindshift CBT is an evidence-based anxiety tool designed to promote and develop behaviours that create long-lasting positive change. What’s-Up offers a comprehensive and diverse range of therapy methods to manage stress, anxiety and depression. Similarly, “Calm” contains a 7-step meditation program designed to improve well-being and sleep. It also offers 2-30-minute sessions based on various topics including energy, creativity and relaxation (Calm 2022).

While it appears that smart phone users have become spoilt for choice in the realm of pro-recovery apps, on-going diligence is required to ensure technology is being used in the safest possible way. In 2012, picture-orientated social media site Pintrest banned eating disorder related content in the interests of community well-being. In 2021, the company took it a step further and banned advertisements that promote diets or idealise certain body types (The Guardian 2021).While greater focus has certainly shifted towards internet safety, it remains upon the wider community to accept and share responsibility in constantly working “together for a better internet”, as has been coined year’s Safer Internet Day theme (Australian Government 2022). In alliance with this goal, Timmons (2022) recommends checking whether apps under consideration for use have been developed by licenced medical professionals before including them in any recovery program.

BodyMatters offers several evidence-based online resources to complement recovery. Our online program SupportWise comprises a collection of courses developed to educate and empower loved ones supporting those with an eating disorder though their recovery journey. This includes parents, partners, adult children siblings and friends, each tailored to their unique perspectives and needs. Additionally, BodyMatters facilitates regular online recovery talks hosted by individuals who have recovered from an eating disorder and monitored by at least one BodyMatters therapist. On February 19, 2022 we will be welcoming Sophie Smith to lead this month’s recovery talk. To learn more about Sophie or register a spot, please refer to our website.

It is clear that technology can play a beneficial role in aiding recovery when appropriately incorporated into a professional treatment plan. Therefore, it falls upon us as a community to exploit the many benefits of the internet by prioritising safety. 








Australian Government. (2022). Safer Internet Day 2022. Viewed 6 February 2022 https://www.esafety.gov.au/newsroom/whats-on/safer-internet-day-2022. 

Calm. (2022). About the App. Viewed 6 February 2022, https://au.reachout.com/tools-and-apps/calm. 

Moore, C. (2021). What is e-Therapy? A definition, Reviews and How it Works. Viewed 6 February, 2022, https://positivepsychology.com/e-therapy/. 

InsideOut. (2020). “We want to intervene early”: Australia’s first online treatment for eating disorders is on its way. Viewed 6 February, 2020, https://insideoutinstitute.org.au/blog/“we-want-to-intervene-early”-australia’s-first-online-treatment-for-eating-disorders-is-on-its-way. 

Timmons, J (2022). The Best Eating Disorder Recovery Apps for 2022, Healthline, viewed 5 February 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/top-eating-disorder-iphone-android-apps. 

The Guardian. (2021). Bye bye BMI: Pinterest bans weight loss ads in first for major social networks. Viewed 6 February 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/jul/02/bye-bye-bmi-pinterest-bans-weight-loss-ads-in-first-for-major-social-networks. 

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