Reporter’s COMMENT by Mia humphreys
Recent surveys by BBC news show that the social media platform “Instagram” is the worst of all platforms for mental health in young adults and teenagers.
For those who are unfamiliar with the app, the basic mechanics are that you can make an account and share pictures that are seen by other users who can like, comment and follow your profile. Instagram is bombarded by hazy pictures of aesthetically pleasing scenery and physically flawless men and women showing off their seemingly ‘perfect’ lives telling you to work out more, have longer legs, get bigger lips, have the perfect body, wax your eyebrows, drink this special tea etc in order to get valuable ‘likes’.
This presents an unrealistic expectation for followers who are unaware that most photos are heavily edited and do not show the hard work behind the body.
Instagram easily makes anyone feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough; young boys are just as vulnerable as girls to conditioning as evidence shows that eating disorders are on the rise for both genders. It’s easy to feel scared for your child or grandchild when there is a world of negativity beyond your reach, but there are steps to improve your child’s body image.
Firstly, be a good body image role model yourself; don’t criticize your own ‘imperfections’. Because if you don’t love yourself, how can you expect them to? Next, focus on improving their health and not targeting their weight.
Teach them about how to get the energy they need to take care of them and live an active life. And always promote the message: all bodies are beautiful.