Our bodies naturally go through significant changes as we grow. However, with today’s media, children start to develop their own opinions about how their body should look at a very young age.
Various factors can influence the way children see themselves. As parents, you have a crucial role to play to ensure that they develop a positive body image. However, it can be difficult to shield them against everything that they see online or on TV. No matter how hard you try to filter what they see, there is still a chance that the message promoted by media will come through.
The role of media
Teenagers spend an average of nine hours every day browsing through their social media accounts. But what seems to be alarming is that these same teens spend only at least 10 minutes of their day speaking with their parents.
What they see on social media can affect the way they see themselves and how their body should look. Movies, images and even magazines often portray what society deems to be beautiful. The ad campaigns that we see on TV send a dangerous message to people that being thin is the best way to be happy.
You can see the effects in children as young as three whenever they play games. Research shows that kids this young already prefer to play roles that depict thin people.
The consequences of poor body image
The main issue with what the media portrays as the ideal body is that it does not exist. The truth is almost all photos posted on magazines are edited first to enhance the models’ features before these are published. Failure to achieve the models’ look, however, often leads to disappointment and low self-esteem among teens.
Girls are the ones who often get affected by poor body image. But it does not mean that boys do not suffer from it, too. Same with women, men can also feel that they are not as attractive as others because they do not have enough muscles. Although both sexes can suffer from depression, girls are most likely to suffer from eating disorders. Examples of these eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia.
How to help your teens
Institutions like Eva Carlston get good reviews from parents whose teenage kids experience depression due to poor body image. But as parents, you can also help protect your kids from the harmful effects of media in general.
You can do so by watching TV together and talking to your children about the messages that shows and commercials are trying to portray. You can also discuss the ad campaigns that beauty companies use to sell their products. Guide your kids to spot any underlying message about how these products can make people attractive.
Let it become an ongoing conversation within the household. Doing so will help your children develop a healthy body image in time. Even more, it will also help reduce the adverse effects of social media on your kids’ perception of beauty.