Talking about body image
The KDS Parent Education webinar, Let’s Talk Body Confident Children and Teens, held last night, provided invaluable insights and strategies to families for promoting positive self image in their children. Facilitated by David Opat, Vice-Principal Wellbeing, the guest speaker was Nicki Lefkovits who has worked with the Butterfly Foundation for the last 5 years and has delivered educational programs to young people, parents and professionals. She is also a psychologist and mother of three children.
She highlighted the strong connection between low self esteem and poor body image and discussed the need to empower young people to change their thoughts and feelings about their body image.
Research has shown that the COVID pandemic has impacted the mental health and specifically body image perceptions of young people. For many, the need to use cameras during distance learning, increased children’s self-consciousness. The decrease in physical activity and the increased consumption of social media also negatively impacted body image perceptions. Nicki stressed that early intervention is key.
Citing the Mission Australia Youth Survey, this research ranks body image concerns as one of the top four personal concerns in youth.
Nicki presented the Dove infomercial “change one thing” as a good discussion point with children. The message being “embrace what we have and resist comparison with others”. The media and particularly social media has an enormous influence on body image. Families should encourage children to focus on the functionality of the body rather than its aesthetic. Nicki added we should encourage children to understand “we are worth more than our looks”.