CHILDLINE ADVICE: Campaign will help children struggling with body image

Each summer, we are confronted by advertisements and articles asking if we’re “beach body ready”.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 12:00 am
Some said they were eating more out of boredom and temptation around the home, leading to weight gain and feelings of sadness, guilt, regret, and anxiety about reactions from their peers when they returned to school.

These messages used to be carried by magazines and television, but social media now bombards young people with ideas about perfect body types, or how we should aim for certain looks to fit in.

Here at Childline, we have seen just how much they can affect the minds of young people.

Since April last year, Childline has delivered almost 5,000 counselling sessions to children and young people about eating and body image disorders.

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That’s worrying enough, but 2,430 of those sessions were delivered to children aged between 12 and 15, representing a 13 per cent increase on the previous year.

Children have told us how difficult the past year has been for young people across the North East and the rest of the country, dealing with the pandemic, lockdowns, disruption to schooling and missing family and friends.

This period has been especially difficult for young people who already struggle with body image or live with eating disorders. Some said they were eating more out of boredom and temptation around the home, leading to weight gain and feelings of sadness, guilt, regret, and anxiety about reactions from their peers when they returned to school.

Childline has launched a new social media campaign to help young people who are struggling with their body image, and to offer support in the face of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat accounts which can increase young peoples’ worries about their bodies.

As we enter the summer holidays, a video made with the support of the NSPCC’s Young People’s Board For Change will be released to help talk about the pressures young people can feel due to distorted views and beauty standards shared online.

As always, it’s essential children know they can talk to trusted adults for help and support.

If they don’t feel able to speak to you as a parent or carer, please remind them there are counsellors available at Childline, and online at www.childline.org.uk where they can also speak to other young people who might be feeling the same way.