Young Girls Struggle with Negative Self-Image on Social Media

17 percent of the young girls who participated in the survey have a negative self-image. This shows an abrupt increase in three years. In 2010 the figure was only 7 percent, writes TV2. 

Christina Tandrevold (16) and Gitte Krohn-Pettersen (15) are both students at Austbø school in Stavanger. They think girls at their age are affected by the feedback they receive through social media.

– Through Instagram you can see others are fine. When you do not feel as successful as them, you lose the self-confidence, says Tandrevold to TV2.

She experiences that young people who are getting “likes” through social media are much appreciated.

– Young people want to publish nice pictures of themselves because they are judged  by others based on appearance. It is very easy to write nasty comments to each other anonymously on the internet today. If someone writes that your photos are ugly, it is easy to be influenced, says Krohn-Pettersen.

The researchers behind the report believes the increase is due to high standards of academic achievement, extracurricular activities and appearance. Researcher Kristin Hegna says social media has opened up a new landscape where young people can obtain inputs for their own identity development. The problem is that social media is not showing the breadth of life, but rather emphasizes the successful and bright part.

– The increase is probably due to how the media portrays the female body. In the press, half-naked women abound and so does superficial message of how to get a perfect life and appearance, says another NOVA researcher Silje Hartberg.

Professor at the University of Tromsø, Willy-Thore Mørch notes that self-esteem develops as a result of the images of our own bodies relative to ideals. Adolescents’ self esteem is broken because they never manage to match the unrealistic female ideals presented in the media.

Parents must take responsibility 

The researchers also think that this is a problem that must be dealt on individual level. They point out it is important that parents talk to their children about values and they should focus on personal qualities rather than appearance while making compliments to kids.

The researchers believe that the community has a collective responsibility to protect young girls against this pressure.

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