CHILDLINE: More than 4,000 sessions relating to body image or eating disorder in one year

Spring is finally here, and as we step into a warmer season it is common for social media and magazines to be flooded with images, videos and articles about getting ‘beach ready’.
A woman supports her daughter with eating disorderA woman supports her daughter with eating disorder
A woman supports her daughter with eating disorder

For many people, especially young people going through puberty, these kinds of posts can have a huge, negative impact on how they feel about their bodies. They might feel pressured to achieve a certain body shape and lose confidence in their appearance.

Body confidence can affect people of all ages and genders and can have a huge impact on self-esteem. From April 2022 to March 2023, Childline delivered 4,179 counselling sessions where the young person’s main concern was body image or an eating disorder.

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Our Childline website provides lots of suggestions to help children and young people feel better about themselves. This includes practicing acting confident and they could do this by walking with their head upright or wearing a bright colour. Sometimes playing the part can help us feel better about ourselves and how we look.

It is so important that children and young people have someone to talk to about how they are feeling and realise that they are not alone. Body image concerns can impact young people for the rest of their lives, so if your child tells you they’re struggling with this it’s vital they feel heard, supported and not judged.

Importantly, young people should be reminded that we’re all different. Nobody is ‘perfect’, and the images shared by most magazines and influencers have benefited from hours of professional make-up and editing.

They could also talk to a friend, family member or safe adult such as a teacher. Our moderated Childline message boards are a great forum for them to share how they are feeling with their peers and to support each other online.

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Childline is here to support children and young people going through a variety of different problems and we have more detailed advice online about body confidence, and a range of other topics.

Children can also call Childline free and in confidence on 0800 1111, and adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline on [email protected]

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