The purpose of this research was to investigate young people’s body confidence and the content they post on social media.
Young people today have to navigate a world that bombards them with messages about what they should look like and how they should behave.
The pressures that young people face in relation to their appearance come from a multitude of sources and play out in a multitude of arenas. However, for many, none of these arenas are more concentrated than their own social media platforms. As such, more than three fifths of young people (61%) said they felt pressured to look their best in the content they posted online.
More than two thirds of young people (67%) edit pictures of themselves before posting them on their social media platforms. While the time spent editing pictures varied among individuals, nearly a quarter of young people (23%) spent more than five minutes editing pictures of themselves before posting them online.
The extent of the concern that some have about their online presence and the lengths they go to to change their appearance is illustrated by the fact that more than one in 10 young people (11%) said the pictures they post on their social media platforms do not accurately reflect what they normally look like in real life.
The unrealistic images posted on social media become part of a vicious cycle in which young people are both the consumers and the curators of such imagery, perpetuating the ideals they struggle to meet.
While young people have the ability to end this cycle, it is clear that they cannot challenge the status quo alone. As such, individual action must be supplemented by wider measures taken by brands, celebrities and influencers to counteract the negative impact that social media can have.Download the report
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