How to empower children to develop positive body image
Using selfies as a comparison tool
Seeing constant streams of perfect bodies can put unrealistic expectations on young people to look a certain way which can lead to low ‘body esteem’.
Pressure to post the perfect selfie
Wanting to be excepted by the in-crowd can put pressure on young people to share personal images simply to improve their social status.
Link between likes’ and self-esteem
Young people may put more value in how others see them so getting a negative comment or not enough likes on a post can have a real negative impact on their self-esteem and mental health.
Tips to support young people
- Explain that when we look at idealised images – it’s natural to compare ourselves. The way to deal with these images is to recognise that they are more like press releases, they showcase the best possible version of a face or body.
- Being bombarded by images of people with abs or a certain body type on their social feed can lead them to think that this is the norm. Making them aware of a range of body types can help them develop a balanced view of body image.
- Remind children that they are more than what they see in the mirror. Encouraging them to put value in the range of talents and skills they have can help them develop a strong sense of self and improve self-esteem.
- Be aware of the language that you use to talk about your own body. Children pick up on this so it’s best to try and keep it positive to encourage them to stay positive about their own body image.
- Talk about the reasons behind why they are liking a picture; is it because others have liked it or because they’ve genuinely engaged with the photo? Getting them to think critically about this can help them developed a balanced view when it comes to seeking likes on social media.
- Encourage them to celebrate what makes them unique, rather than comparing themselves to others online. Posting images that empower and inspire others can be a great tool to encourage others to do the same.