Tips to promote positive body image

To help children challenge idealised images on social media and put value in more than just what they see in the mirror, use our tips and expert advice to empower them to develop positive body image.

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How to empower children to develop positive body image 

Why is it important?

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

Help children think critically about images they see online

  • 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.

Encourage them to be selective about who they follow and images they see

  • 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.

Empower them not to put all self-esteem eggs in the beauty basket

  • 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.

Talk positively about your own body image

  • 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.

Discuss what it really means to 'like' something on social media

  • 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.

Focus on positive images online

  • 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.