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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Over a third of girls are affected by online pressure

This news post is almost 7 years old

​Girlguiding Scotland has published research showing girls' worries about being online

New research from Girlguiding Scotland has revealed that over a third of girls believe the pressure of showcasing a perfect life online is affecting their wellbeing.

The charity revealed that 35% of girls and young women aged 11 to 21 say that comparing their own lives to others is one of the major worries about spending time online, which can have a detrimental effect on their wellbeing.

Girlguiding also found that less than half of girls (47%) felt that their parents understood the pressures they face on social media, despite an increased awareness of the safety threats surrounding being active online.

According to the charity, this shows that parents are at risk of underestimating the impact that being active online can have on their daughters.

More girls and young women are using social media such as Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube than ever to engage with both their friends and celebrities.

However, Girlguiding research shows that this can bring drawbacks, especially to young women aged 17 to 21, who view comparing themselves to others online as the second greatest worry behind being distracted from their academic work.

A third of girls report worrying about how they look in online photos, and a quarter say that they worry about feeling the need to check their phones immediately after they wake up and before they go to sleep.

Katie is 17 and a young leader from Edinburgh. She said: "Social media can be an amazing tool for young people to make their voices heard, but as these figures show, it can also take a toll on girls' self-esteem.

"Comparing yourself to others can be an easy trap for girls and young women to fall into, especially given how often we use social media to keep up with the lives of friends and celebrities. That's why Girlguiding's Free Being Me body confidence workshops are so important to help girls speak up about the pressure they feel and find positive ways of dealing with it.

"I want to see a future where all girls feel confident in who they are and raising awareness of the pressures social media can create is a really important step."

Girlguiding Scotland aims to empower girls and young women aged five to twenty-five to gain confidence by providing a safe space to speak about issues that matter to them and helping them enjoy new experiences.

The charity has run a number of initiatives designed to boost girls’ self-esteem such as its peer education programme, with peer-led workshops helping girls explore issues such as body image and mental wellbeing.