Kids spend a lot of time consuming some sort of media these days and given what that media often advocates, it should be no surprise that unrealistic body expectactions and anxiety about image are creeping into the minds of children at younger and younger ages. A UK survey determined that over half of girls and a third of boys actively compare their bodies to those on television.
Daily Mail reports that out of 810 kids aged 11 to 16, 25% would consider going under the knife to achieve a certain look. One in 10 boys saw no problem in taking steriods to become more muscular and one in eight girls admitted that they would take diet pills or laxatives to be skinny.
Rosi Prescott, chief executive of Central YMCA, which commissioned the survey, observed that young people seem to be exhibiting more insecurity around their physical appearance. She also noted that there is “a growing trend” among kids to choose quick fixes like diet pills and steiods to attain a certain physique.
What’s even more troubling about these findings is that much of what these kids are seeing on television are cosmetically or digitally enhanced bodies. Whether we’re talking TV shows or commercials, what children are being confronted with is far from natural. Initiatives that help children comprehend what they’re actually seeing, such as learning about airbrushing and photoshop in the classroom, gives kids the information to resist these images. Getting children to understand the processes through which these images or even bodies are being altered can be a powerful antitote to your little girl tugging on your skirt about a boob job.