Help Your Teen Improve Her Body Image
KEN: Yeah, the kids are alright. And according to our recent study done by Mission Australia, body image is one of the top three issues for young people. And to take us through that is our child whisperer professional Sharon Witt. Good morning.
SHARON WITT: Good morning. And the kids are alright, they’re back at school today.
LUCY: Are they?
SHARON WITT: Yeah.
LUCY: Is school holidays over?
SHARON WITT: Wake up Lucy, it’s over.
SHARON WITT: That’s why Lucy’s afraid. O, the kids have gone back today. My school’shave gone back today. So, most parents are just saying “Ahh”.
LUCY: But wait, what day is it?
SHARON WITT: Today is Monday. What day did you think it was Lucy? Good morning Lucy, it’s Monday. Let’s talk about body image while Lucy just looks at her calendar for a moment. Interestingly enough, there are a lot of young people out there with a really poor body image. There was recent study that actually said that age 17, by age 17, 90% of girls, teen girls would be on a diet of some kind. Now, isn’t that, that is just alarming. And it is a trend that we are seeing more and more these days. And interestingly enough, Facebook, there was a recent study, with Facebook users. Because so many people are posting pictures online and photographs of what they’ve been up to and they found that about 75% of Facebook users were actually unhappy with their body. So, because they’re comparing and despairing and looking at what other people look like. So, it is a real issue, you know. I don’t know if you were also watching The Voice last night, that the one thing that as interesting about that was that there was a couple of girls on, who came on who really struggled with their body image and self esteem and they were judged purely on their voices. Which I thought was amazing.
LUCY: I mean you could see when they were, you know, chosen or buzzed in by one of the judges, they just lit up.
KEN: You got, okay, you’ve got like Facebook and then I would say that it would even be worse now than fashion magazines, but I suppose that’s the one you compare it to because more people are on Facebook than probably pick up a magazine these days. But, how does that contribute, everything, you know, into this whole point.
SHARON WITT: Yeah, well I think, we got our teen girls and boys, but it’s predominantly teen girls, they are being bombarded with images on a daily basis. It’s on television, it’s on, in the magazine, it’s on them in the media, it’s on Facebook. So what they’re seeing is all these images and they don’t realize that, especially the magazines in the front covers that they see, that pretty much all of them have been digitally altered. So, you know, the celebrities would go through hair and make-up and then have their images taken and then there’s between 40 and 45 changes made to every image that you see in magazines. And most kids don’t realize this, so what they’re comparing themselves to is actually a fake image.
KEN: Yeah, it’s not even real. What some of warning signs that our teens are going through that?
SHARON WITT: Look, I think there’s a few warning signs. I mean over emphasis on, you know, how they dress, I mean we know, in how they’re looking, how they’re spending time getting ready for school. We know some teen girls who would take some hour or hour and a half getting ready in the morning, but certainly noticing that they’re spending too much time on how they look. Also, it is a warning sign to look for perhaps eating disorders or tendency to looking like their losing weight obviously. But it’s often the warning signs come through when they’ve actually had an eating disorder for a while. So, things like they’re wearing baggy clothes, not wanting to eat around other people. So there’s lot of things we can kinda look at. But I think as parents, it’s really important for us to be careful about how we talk about our own bodies.
LUCY: Right, ‘cause that would be a big factoring.
SHARON WITT: It’s a big thing. And you know as a teacher, I’m very conscious of how I talk about myself and act in front of the teen girls that I work with, because if we’re talking about, you know, we’re constantly on a diet, or I’m fat or I’m ugly or whatever, this is what our girls are gonna be saying.
KEN: So, that’s the way I guess our parents can help.
SHARON WITT: Yeah, absolutely. You know, ‘cause there’s so much, so much in the media that our kids are bombarded with. There was actually, Hunger Games is out at the moment, big, big movie. And Jennifer Lawrence who played the lead Katnis in that movie, there was a report last week, a week before, saying that the media thought that she was too fat to play KatnisEverdeen because she’s from this sort of, you know, this area 12 and this is supposed to be poor and impoverish. But interestingly enough, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutchinson who played the other main character were bulked up, big guys who are also from that area.
KEN: It’s double standards.
SHARON WITT: It’s double standards. So, we have to continually remind our girls that they are especially unique and that they are beautiful and it doesn’t matter what the media tells them, you are supposed to be perfect. We need to, you know, highlight the things they’re good at, find the passion that they have, their singing, whatever happens to be. Remind them that they’re great.
KEN: Love it. Sharon, that’s excellent. Because, you know, body image is such an important thing. It gives an effect on everybody. Hey, thank you very much for joining us. We’ll catch you next week?
SHARON WITT: Well, have a great Monday everyone.
KEN: We will.