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How do you help teens with body confidence & social media? Share your tips for chance to win £300 NOW CLOSED

(169 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Oct-15 13:29:05

As you may know the Dove Self-Esteem Project works to try and help "girls across the world overcome beauty related pressures, raise their self-esteem and in doing so, realise their full potential". They have lots of tips and advice around talking to teens about body confidence, especially in regards to social media. Now they want to hear your tips on talking to yours!

The team at the Dove Self-Esteem Project say that "1 in 2 girls say they are using social networks ‘all the time’, across an average of 4 different networks and taking 12 minutes at a time to prepare a selfie. The number of girls who say social networks make them feel worse about their appearance doubles between the age of 13yrs to 18yrs - 30% agree at 13yrs vs 60% at 18yrs".

The Dove Self-Esteem Project is campaigning to help young people find beauty confidence in themselves and realise the only like that counts is their own. Get involved using #NoLikesNeeded.

So, please share on this thread:

~ Your top tips for encouraging your teen, friend, relation or student to not rely on social media to boost their self-esteem
~ Any concerns you have about your teen's self-esteem - do you feel they are becoming dependent on social media to boost body confidence?
~ Any experiences of this issue
~ What does your teen teach you about social media and body confidence? Do you lead by example?
~ If your child is younger than a teen now, what advice do you think you would give about these issues when your child is older?

Add your comment to the thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher for the store of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck

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PS: we also asked 3 of our bloggers to blog about this topic:
You can read their posts here

Piratespoo Wed 07-Oct-15 18:39:27

Teaching your child their inherent value. Filling them up with self esteem, confidence and reassurance that who they are is enough. Telling them not to be reliant on what other people think of them, it doesn't matter but ,living well, being kind and doing your best is important. Making mistakes is part of life and you learn from them.
Teaching them that social media is not real life. People can say what they like on there without immediate real consequences, so they are not as careful as they should be. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't write it on their facebook wall.
Teach them that social media can manipulate people. It can deceive people. It often isn't true.

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 07-Oct-15 20:23:03

Thankfully my girl teens get their self esteem from real life activities away from social media and not from pouting, duck facing, or fish gaping (!) Their social media pics are usually deliberately anti-convention (face-pulling, silly wigs, beards and moustaches) or are focused on actual accomplishments or happenings rather than aesthetics. I am aware this is not common.

I run a female only youth group and this stuff crops up all the time. We focus on the importance of individuality, being true to yourself, and avoiding peer pressure and group-think. We encourage them to identify the values and expectations of each of their social groups (including schools) and encourage them to question them to determine if they are their own values, or if they feel pressure to conform. If they are conforming, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be judged for x, y or z? Is there ever such a thing as a good thing or a bad thing? grin

Obviously Dove's focus is thier largest target product demographic, women, but we also get our girls to discuss whether the same cultural expectations exist for their male peers. If not why not? Are there different expectations in terms of aesthetics for the boys?

I should note that it's not all hair shirts and misery, it's also reasonably common for me to say 'hey x, cute haircut! It really suits you!' or 'I really like those trousers!'

And then we get on and do stuff and don't give a toss what we look like. grin

Theimpossiblegirl Wed 07-Oct-15 21:10:18

I think it's very important to show teens that the images of celebrities are photo-shopped and that normal girls/women don't look perfect all the time.
It's also important to value more than looks. It's nice to be pretty, but better to be kind, clever, funny, compassionate etc.

My teen is a fully fledged duck face selfie taker but she's also not afraid to send herself up.

BlackCatSleeps Thu 08-Oct-15 08:12:25

I've got sons and there definitely seems to be a difference in how boys and girls use social media from what I have seen of their news feeds. Although having said that, there does seem to be increasing numbers of photos of boys posing, hair slicked back, so I don't think we should be complacent about the emotional needs of boys.

I try to send my niece links to stories of Photoshopping...and reminding her that photos of celebrities 'I just got up' are not for real! It's a mine field really though because you don't want to emphasise brains over looks look much (as I have seen happening more and more), because brains, like good looks, are just luck too and not everyone is clever!

starsfishsand Thu 08-Oct-15 11:19:40

What helped me in the difficult years was reading, lots and lots of different types of advice and opinions. I have just recommended 'All I know now' by Carrie Hope Fletcher to my little sister who is going through it at the moment. It's very relatable and easy to read. She is very funny and down to earth. She also has a YouTube channel for those who aren't in to reading. She is a very good role model for young people to seek advice from.

Susanne1mj Thu 08-Oct-15 11:52:47

I think it is virtually impossible nowadays to keep your daughters completely immune from social media's impact on their perception of what women should look like. Thank you, Kardashian family. But you can try and strengthen their self esteem from other angles, for example achievements in sports or other activities which highlight talents they have. My daughter sang in a cathedral choir when she was younger and she is a really confident public speaker now, I'm sure those two are connected. It helps to remember how we felt as teens ourselves, most of us are much more confident any time after our teenage years. My daughters can now see the ridiculous side of duckfaces but when they were younger they tried to work a good pout at times, we just made sure they were too busy to worry about looks all the time. Unfortunately I believe that whereas boredom used to leave room for creativity, today it leaves too much room for social media.

gleegeek Thu 08-Oct-15 13:28:47

We ban all technology from upstairs - dd is only 12 though, so how long that's feasible for is anyone's guess! We are very open with technology, we talk a lot about what is/isn't real and why it matters to some people and not others. Dd has come to the conclusion that the ones who post constant selfies are the ones having the hardest time trying to keep their popularity rates up, which I thought was incredibly perceptive. So far dd is more interested in posting funny or profound stuff,;she does the occasional selfie but refuses to edit it constantly - what you see is what you get! 'After all they know what i look like in real life!' Long may it continue...

hermancakedestroyer Thu 08-Oct-15 14:22:23

Encouraging my daughter to be active and get involved with sports has been great for her. It boosts her self-esteem and makes her feel comfortable about her image.
As far as social media is concerned she knows that what is shown and written about on there is not always fact.
She also attends an all girls school and I think that has been great for boosting confidence.

sharond101 Thu 08-Oct-15 16:19:41

I believe teaching my children self love and complimenting them on their beautiful personality rather than body is helpful. Also getting them interested and involved in sport.

Belo Thu 08-Oct-15 17:45:26

My 13 year old Dd is very self confidence about her thighs and bum. When she moans about them I point out to her how she has ran at a county level and that she should be proud of everything her body achieves. I tell her that she has an athletes body.

Belo Thu 08-Oct-15 17:47:22

Whoops - typo! That should read self conscious not self confident!

HitsAndMrs Thu 08-Oct-15 18:03:30

My Dsis is a teenager. I've always talked about how images are photo shopped with excellent lighting and to not compare herself to others. I tell her - a flower doesn't compare itself to others, it just blooms.

FingerOFudge Thu 08-Oct-15 19:58:22

I try to focus on what she does, rather than how she looks. And the same in my case - I think if I spend my time looking worried in the mirror and being despondent about how I look, she would learn to do it too. So when I comment on any of her friends, it's always to say how friendly or cheerful or interesting they are, rather than to say that they "look" nice. Also to underline how I value my friends for everything but they way they look!

I do worry, she does say that things are "wrong" with how she looks. It's only natural as they reach teenage, but I do my best to help her deal with it. Like pointing out that she wouldn't stop being friends with someone just because they happened to have a spot on their chin that day, or whatever it was.

SuzCG Fri 09-Oct-15 10:50:34

I haven't got teens yet but am adamant that my daughter will grow up to know how she will truly be valued in life - and that is not for how she looks but how she acts. Kindness, honesty, manners, integrity, positivity and always being the best that you can be are far more important! They are where true beauty lies!! I tell her I love her every day of her life and I hope that the security of that will be enough for her to love herself - and self confidence will flow from that too.
I'm not a great fan of social media, having seen some people's lives unravel with horrible situations that have come from using it - and we have talked about this, as have her school. We live miles away from my family and whilst technology can be great for maintaining contact my daughter knows that it is not the be all and all. Relationships are best forged in good old fashioned ways!

Anononooo Fri 09-Oct-15 11:39:25

When my DD is a teen in a couple of years, I will continue you to tell her that all people are different and there is so much more to life than worrying about what you look like, what others look like, how much you do or don't weigh. I will continue to provide delight and interest in others things beyond appearances - and also steer her away from crummy girls' magazines and the Daily Mail. I will try to get her to talk with me about what she sees and does on social media. I don't think this will be easy - but I will lead by example - not spending my time glued to it, but doing other things with her and encouraging her to have many experiences.

MissisG Fri 09-Oct-15 17:58:10

My daughter suffers with body dysmorphia and is convinced she is ugly. I have surrounded her make up mirror with lots of positive statements about herself and try to keep building up her self esteem with positive comments. She is a kind loving person and it's so wrong that the media and celebrity culture can cause such unnecessary problems.

purplepandas Fri 09-Oct-15 19:00:19

My DD is not a teen yet but I do worry about this. I am not sure what advice I would offer at the moment. I would most likely post a thread on this as I would be keen to learn about others' experiences and what has worked or not worked. It's tricky of course as all children are different and there is no universal approach. I agree with a previous poster who talks about a sense of being valued in life (not focused on appearance). It's something I will try my hardest with!

ahbollocks Fri 09-Oct-15 19:28:27

I do worry about this.

My SIL is still a teen and we've had great conversations about beauty and 'likes'
We talk about how sure, her favourite celebrities are beautiful, but they still far, and pick food out of their teeth and sweat!
I've also reminded her that her favourite icons are there because they are driven and ambitious and smart.

I try to compliment my own dd on things like how kind she is, how strong her legs are, how smart she is when she does her puzzles, how important she is to me and her dad, how softly she strokes our cat.
It is easy for us to tell little girls they are pretty but I do think encouraging and rewarding her virtues will put us in good stead for the future

clopper Fri 09-Oct-15 20:50:35

I focus on talking about talents and interests of her and her friendship group rather than looks. We have many body shapes and sizes in our house so I think that helps. We also avoid any celebrity type programmes on TVs.

marymanc Fri 09-Oct-15 21:15:22

Luckily my daughter doesn't seem to be interested in social media and is quite confident. I think what helps is the fact that she does lots of social activities and understand the value of self-esteem. I believe that educating children to believe in themselves from a young age might help.

CopperPan Fri 09-Oct-15 21:32:03

I try to expose my teen dd to a range of activities to prevent her becoming glued to social media - we do sports and art classes and that helps her feel a sense of achievement.
I monitor her social media and I don't think there's much focus on body issues at the moment, she doesn't often do selfies or anything. I try to help her feel valued for everything she does by praising the things she does well.
Dd does mention things that have come up in FB conflicts etc and so I'm more aware of how social media influences body confidence these days. I'm careful not to be self-critical in front of her.

voyager50 Sat 10-Oct-15 01:02:15

Just avoid social media and don´t worry about what your friends are doing on it - it is not good for anyone´s confidence if all they see are photoshopped images of celebrities and the ´pretty and popular kids´ from school looking posing.

frankiebuns Sun 11-Oct-15 12:40:42

As being a bigger teen myself i was bullied isolated and didnt really fit in but i was taught to ignore the bad and use your attributes i was witty funny a singer a muscian and a darn good cook i rember a few of the bullys wanting to sing like me be as funny as me and now im a mum of 2 and they are unique and im proud you dont have to fit in to go far

dippydeedoo Sun 11-Oct-15 12:52:17

I have sons but ive always tried to boost their confidence and show them how important good teeth,tidy hair and yes sweet smelling armpits are a definite advantage...boys do have self confidence issues as much as girls in particular my eldest son was really bullied almost for not fitting the conventional handsomeness .....however an orthodontist,good skin care and regular haircuts kind of boosted him up,i remember telling him that friendships with girls and niceness of character was more important at his age instead of relationships and to do what he enjoyed to make his soul happy....hes now a confident extremely handsome lawyer working for a top airline .....funny how things change confidence wise.
ds3 however has no such problems being the little brother he gets all the top branded clothes,squirts of aftershave,top haircare products and is confident in himself having spent so much time with his brothers and their peers and girlfriends.

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