Summary: According to the survey, most parents believe that social media photo editing apps and appearance trends negatively affect their children’s body image. The survey found that 69% of parents believe filters have a negative impact and 65% are concerned about diet or exercise trends.
To counter this, On Our Sleeves encourages parents to have open conversations about body positivity. The organization also offers resources and conversation starters to facilitate dialogue and support positive body image in children.
- A national survey found that 69% of parents believe that social media filters negatively affect their children’s body image.
- The survey further found that 65% of parents believe that social media trends related to appearance harm their children’s body image.
- To counter this, On Our Sleeves provides parents with resources that can foster open discussions about body positivity and promote a healthy outlook on food and body image.
Source: National Children’s Hospital
With children more connected than ever to social media, the wave of new photo editing apps and filters and appearance trends are raising parents’ concerns about body image damage. According to a new nationwide online survey by The Harris Poll commissioned by The On Our Sleeves Movement for Children’s Mental Health, 69% of parents of children under 18 believe social media photo editing apps and filters are having a negative impact on their child (ren) body image.
In addition, 65% of parents agree that social media trends related to appearance – such as diet and exercise – have a negative impact on their children’s body image.
On Our Sleeves encourages parents and carers to check in regularly and talk to their children about the importance of body positivity. Open and honest dialogue can be crucial in understanding how a child feels about their body, which can be exacerbated by external factors such as media consumption.
Dr Erin McTiernan, an associate of On Our Sleeves and a child psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said it’s important to talk to children about food and their bodies, and suggests asking questions to build self-esteem, such as: “What are there things you like about yourself?” She said that when your child starts joining social media platforms, it’s important to pay attention to the content they consume and how it affects them.
“A child’s feelings about his body can affect his mental health,” he said McTiernan.
“We know that social media can influence everything from shopping choices to the perception of beauty, and unfortunately, children are most vulnerable to the unrealistic body image expectations that these platforms place. Children on social media can receive thousands of messages every day about what to look like, what to do and who to be.”
Conversations about body image can be difficult, even for confident parents. That’s why On Our Sleeves offers resources for parents with information and helpful tips about body image and eating, as well as a variety of conversation starters that can help establish and maintain a dialogue with their children.
These resources can help transform conversations about food and bodies in ways that facilitate communication and reduce harm. For example, experts suggest, rather than labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, take a more neutral stance and encourage the addition of foods from different food groups to create balanced, nutritious meals. ”
Parenting tips include:
- Focus on overall health, not weight.
- Modeling a positive body image.
- Recognizing a child’s positive qualities or characteristics that have nothing to do with their appearance.
The balance between allowing children to use social media and avoiding potentially dangerous aspects such as harmful “trends” or messages can be difficult. Through On Our Sleeves, parents can work to build trusting relationships that allow their children to reap the benefits of social media while minimizing the risk of negative impacts.
Visit OnOurSleeves.org for resources to help start conversations about safe social media use and foster positive body image in children.
This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of On Our Sleeves from March 30 to April 3, 2023, among 2,035 American adults over the age of 18, of whom 711 were parents of children under 18. The sampling accuracy of Harris’ online surveys is measured using a reliable Bayesian range.
In this study, sample data is accurate within +/- 2.8 percentage points at 95% confidence level. For full study methodology, including weight variables and subgroup sample size, please contact Molly Devaney at (email protected)
To ensure our survey questions are well-designed, we consulted clinical psychologists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the largest provider of child mental health services in the country. They also discussed the final results. This involvement of a clinical psychologist adds credibility to the study.
About this news from neurodevelopmental and psychological research
Author: Molly Devaney
Source: National Children’s Hospital
Contact: Molly Devaney – National Children’s Hospital
Picture: The image is credited to Neuroscience News