The free downloadable pack, developed by not-for-profit organisation Media Smart, features tips for parents on how to talk to their children about body image. The pack, aimed at six to 11 year olds, is illustrated by ‘before and after’ pictures of digitally edited celebrities such as Britney Spears.
It also includes a section on how ideas of the ideal body shape have changed over the years.
The pack will be issued as part of the government’s body confidence campaign, which was launched in 2010 in a bid to change damaging ideologies promoted by the fashion and advertising industries.
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone 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. I want the pack to empower parents to have those difficult conversations and open the door to discussion.”
A recent All Part Parliamentary Group report revealed that more than half of the British public feel negative about their body image. As well as promoting the pack, the group wants schools to hold compulsive body image and self-esteem lessons for all children.
The fashion industry came under fire last week after a coroner attributed the death of 14-year-old Fiona Geraghty to the irresponsible use of thin models in fashion magazines. The teenager was tragically found hanged in her home last year after suffering from bulimia.
A similar body image pack aimed at primary school teachers was launched by Media Smart last year. It has since been downloaded 1500 times, giving the company high hopes for the new parent-targeted pack.
Children need to understand that the images of ‘perfection’ produced by fashion houses, magazines and television programmes are highly unrealistic and achieved only by a mixture of unusually good genes, extensive digital altering, cosmetic surgery and more often than not – unhealthy eating habits.
Eating healthily and exercising regularly is important but learning to feel positive about the way you look is essential for a healthy mind.
View and comment on the original BBC News article.