Social media is a poor role model
New data from ChildLine reveals that 40% of all counselling sessions delivered last year on eating disorders and body image took place in the summer months (June to September).
Across the whole year - April 2022 to March 2023 - Childline delivered 273 of these sessions in Scotland.
Eating disorders and body image issues were the 6th most common concern for children in Scotland contacting the charity in 2022/23.
A girl in Scotland aged 16 who reached out to Childline said: “How is Tiktok full of so many beautiful people and I look like this? I stare out at my face in the mirror and can only see what needs fixing. My lips, my nose, my eyes, my cheeks. Even my friends agree my nose is huge. Make up doesn’t do what surgery and fillers can do.”
A boy aged 13 told the service: “I feel so guilty every time I eat. I’ve been trying to be healthy and cut down on food, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. My older siblings are all so skinny, everyone says they’re so handsome and look like models, then there’s just me. It’s been upsetting me so much lately, thank you for letting me offload how I’m feeling.”
Kieran Lyons, service head of Childline said: “Every year our trained counsellors speak to hundreds children in the run up to and during the summer holidays who are struggling with their body image or eating disorders.
“Summer can be a really a tough time for anyone who is already dealing with these issues, and it also can be a time which can make others who ordinarily felt happy with their body image begin to feel negatively.
“Regardless of your situation or your worries, Childline is here to ensure that no child is left to cope alone with any worry they have.
“If you are struggling with your body image or an eating disorder, we want you to know that Childline is here to help, and we can support you on what you can do and how to make things feel better.”