A third of girls and young women will not post selfies online without using a filter or app to change their appearance, while a similar proportion have deleted photos with too few “likes” or comments, according to research.
About half regularly edit their photos to improve their online appearance and “find acceptance,” according to Girlguiding’s annual Girl Attitude Survey.
Thirty-four percent of 11-21 year olds said they wouldn’t post a photo of themselves online without first using a filter or app to improve it, with older girls being older. likely to say so.
And 33% said they removed images that had not received enough attention.
The charity surveyed 2,186 girls and young women aged 7 to 21 across the UK for its annual report, which will be released in full at the end of September.
He said the increase in time spent online during the lockdown, coupled with exposure to unrealistic images of girls and young women, was exacerbating the pressures they faced.
Thirty-nine percent of 1,473 respondents aged 11 to 21 said they felt upset that they couldn’t look the same in real life the way they did online, with 44% saying fear of others criticizing their body prevented them from agreeing to have their photo taken.
One respondent said, “I have a hard time going through Insta because everyone looks perfect and it lowers my confidence.”
Girlguiding advocate Phoebe Kent, of Reading, said she believes influencer culture is one of the most damaging phenomena to emerge on social media.
As a young schoolgirl, she said she would think, “How can everyone look so good online?” when filtered photos of her peers appeared on social media.
The 20-year-old, who studies French and Economics at the University of Warwick, said: ‘I think now because I’m older I’m able to criticize things I see online and to overcome them, but for younger girls and young women, it absolutely hits your self-esteem.
“I know so many people who just quit social media because they can’t cope with the damaging impact on their confidence and well-being. It certainly has an impact on the mental health of so many girls and young women.
“It’s such a shame that girls have to resort to ditching social media and doing things like trying to change their looks just to feel more confident when in reality most of the things they see aren’t. not realistic. all. “
Eight in 10 respondents aged 11 to 21 had considered changing their appearance, with more than half believing it would improve their self-confidence or make them feel better about themselves.
More than half felt pressured to change their appearance after viewing ads online, accounting for 67% of girls who identified as LGBQ.
Three-quarters would like cosmetic procedures, such as lip fillers and Botox, to be banned for those under the age of 18, while two-thirds would like new legislation to prevent them from being exposed to advertisements for diets or weight loss.
Girlguiding Executive Director Angela Salt said, “Young people are an important part of our recovery, but they are without a doubt one of the hardest hit by the impact of the pandemic.
“We are proud to be able to offer girls and young women help and support to cope with these relentless pressures and aim to expand our reach, so that more can benefit from the support that Girlguiding provides.”
Girlguiding submitted evidence to this year’s Women’s and Equality Committee’s body image investigation.