Body image and social media: I wish...

Parent Info has partnered with the Dove Self-Esteem Project to offer parents advice and information to help children and young people build confidence and feel good about themselves

In this article, we look at how young people compare themselves to others

In this video, young people mention one thing they would like to change about themselves. 'I want to be a bit taller' ; 'I wish I was shorter'; 'I wish I had straight hair' ; 'I wish I had curly hair'.

The young people's views in this video highlight how we often look at others' appearance and want to change certain aspects of our own in order to look like someone we admire, or just different to how we are.

For young people today, getting 'likes' on social media posts can bring a powerful sense of acceptance. But, could this constant search for validation from 'followers' trigger negative thoughts about body image? Constantly having images to compare yourself to online could potentially make a young person feel dissatisfied with their own looks. Claire Mysko, an expert on body image, explains that 'While social media is not the cause of low self-esteem, it has all the right elements to contribute to it.'

Tip: Talk about what your child's body can do, not what it can't

We too often speak about what is wrong with our bodies and what we would like to change. Instead, ask your child what their body did well this week. Was it running, dancing, playing an instrument? Help young people see how the human body is amazing no matter how it looks.

Read more about how social media can affect body image

Download your FREE 40-page parent guide to boosting your child's self-esteem here

This downloadable pdf contains expert advice from Dove Self-Esteem Project global experts from the fields of psychology, body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation to create a resource for parents that is focused on advice and action.  

Teachers: for free downloadable teaching resources, go to the Dove Self-Esteem Project area on

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The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA-CEOP.

First published: October 2017


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