22/06/2012

New Guide To Help Parents Teach Children About Body Confidence

The government has backed a guide to help parents teach their children to be confident about their bodies.

The guide stresses that the so-called perfect body and the emphasis on skinniness is a "socially and culturally constructed ideal".

It features before-and-after touched-up pictures of celebrities such as Britney Spears, and encourages parents to make children aware that many images in the media and advertisements are enhanced.

The new guide follows a coroner this week blaming the fashion industry for the death of 14-year-old Fiona Geraghty, who killed herself last year after suffering from eating disorder bulimia. Michael Rose, the West Somerset coroner, called on magazines and catwalks to stop using thin models.

Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, said the guide was an important contribution to the government's campaign to boost body confidence among children. It would empower parents to have "those difficult conversations" with their children, she said.

"Young people are being set an impossible standard by images in media and advertising which can erode their self-esteem. As parents, we are often aware of these issues but may not have the advice and guidance we need to talk to our children," Featherstone said.

A similar guide for primary school teachers has been downloaded 1,500 times since its launch last year. Both are produced by Media Smart, a non-profit organisation that aims to teach six- to 11-year-olds to think critically about what they see in the media.

Paul Jackson, Media Smart's chairman, said: "We have been overwhelmed by the response we have had to the body image teacher pack, both in terms of the volume of responses and the enthusiasm with which it has been received. We have found that children respond really well when they realise that most of the images they see have been altered in some way and are aspirational but not realistic."

(H)


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

11 June 2012
Rise In Attacks On Guide Dogs
Attacks on guide dogs by other dogs have reached a new high of more than eight a month, according to the charity, Guide Dogs.
23 May 2013
Charities Highlight Rise In Children Abusing Children
Children’s charities have warned that an increasing number of children are being abused by other children, adding that their helplines have seen a growing number of calls from children about sexual abuse.
19 April 2012
Children's Society Warns Benefit Changes Could Leave Children Hungry
A children’s charity has warned that plans to simplify the welfare system could result in thousands of England's poorest children missing out on free school meals. The meals are linked to low-income benefits that are among those merging into a single Universal Credit in 2013.
26 January 2012
Govt To Focus On Health 'Outcomes' For Children
Improving health care for children and young people will receive a boost later this year, according to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
27 May 2008
Foster Care Boosted
Young foster children with emotional or psychological difficulties are to get extra support to stop them getting into trouble at school and help them settle in care placements, thanks to a £3.8 million pilot project announced today by Children's Minister Kevin Brennan.