Social Media and Body Image
I watched Victoria Derbyshire on BBC2 this morning, reporting on young adults using social media as a means to compare themselves with others. The programme also included how others use social media to bully others about their weight or appearance. (This is also known as 'trolling'.) See link to watch the programme clip: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p038zq3p.
Trolling definition according to Cambridge Dictionary:
Troll noun [C] (COMPUTING)
› Someone who leaves an intentionally annoying message on the internet, in order to get attention or cause trouble
› A message that someone leaves on the internet that is intended to annoy people
My definition of trolling is: Bullying. Simple. The internet is a great way to allow people to speak without having to physically meet, thereby remaining 'faceless'. Even if names are used in posts, in a sense, we still remain 'anonymous', as long as we do not meet in reality. Unfortunately, people will always use what was created with good intention, for bad purposes. Trolls seem to thrive on the fact that they remain anonymous. The sad thing is that trolls/bullies compound the problem for those who already have low self-confidence. (Incidentally, it can be said that bullies are also insecure about themselves, hence they do what they do,) A lot of social media sites such as Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter, Facebook etc are rife with people with misconceptions on body image, low self-confidence and bullying.
Already in the UK, the number of girls taking part in physical education is much lower than it used to be. Part of the reason for this is body image and self-confidence issues in girls. Body image and low self-confidence is a bigger problem than we might think.
I have personally been made aware of just how fixated young people, as well as adults, can be about how they look on social media. Most of us want to look great in every picture and generally all the time, so we strive for the 'right' look, body, clothes, posture etc. With the same token, we know that there is a lot more to someone than the way they look. We know that beauty is not simply an appearance. We know that magazines, advertisers, the media in general go out of their way to airbrush photos or use lighting and colours, other tricks etc to make movies, photos etc look different from reality.
If we know all this, why are we still so body conscious? I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, so cannot offer a studied scientific theory. My guess is that even they will struggle to provide a simple answer that fits all.
I do believe though that when we discover who we are and what we have within us, we begin to build up our self confidence and rely less on what others think. I also believe we become more likely to decrease our need to constantly make superficial comparisons. Instead, we become more open to aspire to be better versions of ourselves.
This post is intended to raise awareness and actually continues from the other blogs on self-confidence. However, now that awareness has been made, I want to leave you with information on where to get help if needed:
As a parent, do you know whether your child has been trolled? There are some websites that can help; here is one of them: http://www.knowthenet.org.uk/knowledge-centre/trolling
As a teenager or young adult, do you find yourself making 'beauty' or body comparisons with celebrities or peers? As a parent, do you have or know someone struggling with their self-confidence? If so, do you know how to help or where you can get help? Here are a few suggestions:
Talk. Share your concerns with the person/parent.
Get family and peer support
Visit your local GP together if weight loss or gain is an issue.
There are other websites online offering further information and help. However, you can
Contact us for further information if needed. I hope this blog has been informative. Please remember to leave your comments.