Thu 25 May 2023:
Nearly 7 out of 10 parents think that the influx of new image-editing applications and filters as well as fashions focused on looks are having an impact on their kids’ body image.
According to the study, 69% of parents of children under the age of 18 believe that social media picture-editing applications and filters negatively affect their children’s body image.
Additionally, 65% of parents agree that body image-related social media trends, such as diet and fitness, negatively affect their children.
“It’s important to talk to kids about food and their bodies,” said Dr. Erin McTiernan, paediatric psychologist at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the US.
She advised parents to pay attention to the content children are consuming on social media and how it’s impacting them.
“A child’s feelings about their body can affect their mental health,” said McTiernan. “We know that social media can affect everything from purchasing choices to perception of beauty, and unfortunately children are the most vulnerable to unrealistic body image expectations set by these platforms. Children on social media can be exposed to thousands of messages every day about how to look, what to do, and who to be.”
Conversations about body image can be challenging, even for confident parents. The expert suggested instead of labelling foods as “good” or “bad”, take a more neutral stance and encourage adding foods from a variety of food groups to create balanced, nourishing meals.
Parents must focus on overall health, not weight; model positive body image and recognise your child’s positive traits or qualities that don’t have to do with their appearance.
The balance between allowing children to explore social media while avoiding potentially dangerous aspects, such as harmful “trends” or messages, can be difficult.
The research is based on an online national poll performed by The Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s On Our Sleeves Movement For Children’s Mental Health. The poll includes 2,035 US people over the age of 18, 711 of whom are parents of children under the age of 18.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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