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Pre-Teens body confidence teaching aids unveiled

September 30, 2011 10:56 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The teaching materials developed by not-for-profit company Media Smart mark an important contribution to the government's ongoing Body Confidence campaign.

Primary school teachers will be able to download the materials to structure a lesson specifically tailored to the 10-11 age group - an important stage in a young person's development.

Pupils will be guided to look carefully at the images they see in order to gain a more realistic perception of what is real and what is not. The lessons will explore how and why idealised images in advertising and the media are used to construct particular messages and make people feel a certain way.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

"Young people are being set an impossible standard by the images they are confronted with on a daily basis from the media and advertising and there is evidence to suggest this has a negative impact on self esteem.

"I want children to recognise from an early age that their value is worth so much more than just their physical appearance.

"I am delighted to have worked with Media Smart to produce this important work."

Media Smart Chairman Paul Jackson said:

"Media Smart develops lessons to help children think critically about the advertising and media they see on an everyday basis. We were delighted to work with Lynne Featherstone and her team to develop a lesson around such an important and topical issue.

"In trials of the lesson we found that children responded really well when they realised that most of the images they see have been altered in some way and are aspirational but not realistic."

Psychoanalyst, writer and convenor of campaign group Anybody, Susie Orbach said:

"Body confidence is a society wide issue. A lack of it can erode children's self worth.

"Enabling children, their parents and teachers to recognise how images in the media and advertising are altered and the often negative impact this has on all of our self esteem is crucial.

"Giving primary school children the tools which allow them to see the differences between the real and the fantastical is part of helping them develop a sense of self worth and confidence from an early age."

Mumsnet co-founder and Chief Executive Justine Roberts said:

"In recent years we've seen many discussions on Mumsnet about the pressure on children to conform to impossible stereotypes, and the impact this might have on their self-esteem.

"I'm sure many Mumsnetters will welcome this really useful tool, which should help children understand that the kind of bodies reflected in the media are often manipulated to present a distorted view of perfection.

"Enabling children to 'read' these marketing images is empowering - and will build the confidence they need to be happy in their own bodies."

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