Social media and body dissatisfaction – Six actions to protect yourself and your family

Social media and body dissatisfaction – Six actions to protect yourself and your family

The modern world is full of people who are at war with their bodies. One in three young people are very or extremely concerned about body image. Even more troubling is that a third of three year old's would like a different body shape.

Without realising it social media can surround us with pictures of bodies that don’t reflect what society really looks like. It is easy to compare yourself to these images and end up feeling unhappy with your body.

This is called body dissatisfaction.

Rather than inspiring healthy behaviours, it can actually lead to disordered eating and ill health. It is also no wonder our children are worried about their bodies when the adults around them are often unhappy with their own.

But while social media is part of the problem it can also be part of the solution.

Here is what you can do to look after yourself and your family:

  1. Give feedback on posts directly. For example on Facebook you can report a post as offensive or ask to see less of these types of posts.
  2. Be careful what your children see on your social media feed.
  3. Teach your older children to be critical of the images that they see in social media. This is called media literacy and is a powerful tool. Read more about media literacy
  4. With your own social media accounts post and share less content that focuses on the ‘ideal body’
  5. Follow, and invite others to follow, accounts that promote diversity in body shape, colour and ability like the Body Image Movement
  6. Unfollow accounts that make you feel guilty or unhappy about yourself.

Sometimes it is good to take a break from social media.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with body dissatisfaction or disordered eating you can get help by calling or emailing the Butterfly National Helpline