Distorted social media beauty posts negatively affect girls

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Just ahead of Mental Health Week, a new study reveals that one in two girls say toxic beauty advice on social media is causing a crisis in self-confidence and self-esteem.

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Courtesy of Dove Canada’s Self-Esteem Project, the survey found that Canadian teens are spending more and more time on social media browsing all the beauty trends online, with the unfortunate news that all is not positive.

Dove Canada research, conducted in collaboration with Edelman DXI, a global multidisciplinary research, analytics and data company, also found that half of Canadian teenage girls spend more time online than in person with their friends.

Photo courtesy of Dove Canada
Photo courtesy of Dove Canada Photo provided /Dove Canada

One can look at the work of social influencers, who wield enormous power over impressionable followers, especially younger ones, to find out why this is happening. Add to that the fact that it’s a younger audience, notably Gen Z that many beauty companies are coveting. Keep in mind that the beauty industry in Canada is constantly coming up with new products, with makeup and skincare being the main drivers. One can therefore understand the pursuit of young people who are encouraged by the beauty industry to be Instagrammable at all times.

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We have social media to thank for that. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey (courtesy mayoclinic.org), of nearly 750 13-17 year olds, 45% are online almost constantly and 97% use a social media platform, such as YouTube , Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.

Social media has played a vital role in the lives of many teenagers since it first appeared in the late 1990s (although some say it was earlier than that, with the advent of the blogosphere). Since then, they’ve grown and evolved and garnered billions of followers – and made billions for the most powerful influencers.

Social media has opened up a whole different world for teens, providing a medium that allows for self-expression as well as opportunities for teachable moments. It has also been useful for those who suffer from exclusion due to illness or disability.

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That said, the use of social media can have a negative impact on young people, especially teenagers, exposing them to a variety of issues including peer pressure, bullying and an unrealistic view of other people’s lives.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a 2019 study of more than 6,500 young people aged 12 to 15 in the United States found that those who spent more than three hours a day using social media “may be at risk. increased mental health problems. Another 2019 study of over 12,000 13-16 year olds in England found that using social media more than three times a day predicted poor mental health and well-being in adolescents.mayoclinic.org.)

Other studies have found links between high levels of social media use and symptoms of depression or anxiety.

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What makes initiatives like Canada’s Dove Self-Esteem Project so noteworthy – the central message of the campaign is to empower teens to set their own beauty standards and choose their own influences. In fact, the Dove Self-Esteem Project study found that the majority of girls realize “that spending less time on social media and taking control of what they scroll through is part of the solution.” , noted a recent press release. “In fact, 7 out of 10 girls felt better after ditching toxic beauty advice on social media.”

“We have identified a clear issue that is eroding our daughters’ self-esteem that requires immediate attention and action,” said Leandro Barreto, Global Vice President of Dove, in a recent press release. “We created this #DetoxYourFeed campaign to not only raise awareness of the insidious nature of toxic beauty advice, but also to help parents navigate difficult conversations and empower teens to unfollow content that makes them feel feeling bad about themselves… while it can be a bit overwhelming at times, we hope this contributes to important conversations that lead to a more positive experience for teens on social media.

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Dove Canada currently offers Detox Your Flow: The Parent’s Guide – a three-minute educational film for parents, carers and mentors on opening a dialogue with young people about the harms of idealized beauty content on social media. The film, toxic influenceshow Canadian mothers and their teenage daughters talking about harmful beauty advice on social media, and the film spotlights dangerous topics like “fitspo,” “thinspo,” and the promotion of elective cosmetic procedures to young girls.

The moms who took part were shocked to learn that this kind of harmful beauty advice has become normal for their daughters.

The company is also offering a special “Confidence Kit” – a free Dove Self-Esteem Project manual and tool that includes a new section titled Detox your feed: Talk to your kids about toxic advice on social media.

“This campaign is important because the increase in screen time has outstripped the amount of time young girls spend with their friends in person,” Canadian psychologist Dr. Vanessa Lapointe said in a recent email. “It contextualizes the misleading nature of harmful beauty advice that has become normalized in teenage feeds. Research now shows that half of girls say social media causes low self-esteem and continued exposure to this type of content has the potential to have a negative and lasting impact.

For more information visit dove.com/ca/en/dove-self-timate-project.html.

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