How Social Media Affects Kids’ Mental Health And Body Image

Body image can be hard enough for young people and now many parents are concerned new editing apps and filters on social media may be making matters worse.

A survey from The Harris Poll found sixty-nine percent of parents of children under 18 think those apps and filters have a negative influence on their child’s body image. Sixty-five percent agree that social media trends related to appearance – like diet or exercise – have a negative influence on body image.

The “On Our Sleeves Movement for Children’s Mental Health” encourages parents to talk to their kids about the importance of body positivity. Some tips to get that conversation started:

-Focus on overall health – not weight

-Model body positivity

-Recognize your child’s positive traits and qualities that have nothing to do with appearance

Experts also recommend discussing food neutrally, without labeling anything “good” or “bad.” Incorporate a variety of foods from all food groups for balanced meals.

Maintaining a healthy dialogue can help kids explore the benefits of social media while avoiding the pitfalls. Just this week, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called for tech companies and lawmakers to take immediate action to protect young people‘s mental health on social media. He’s also recommending tech-free zones, like mealtimes and nighttime.

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