London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital
Increasing numbers of the United Kingdom’s pre-teens, children under thirteen years of age, are becoming concerned over their physical appearances, with the average child now worrying about how they look for ninety minutes a day, according to a study.
An astonishing 90 per cent of the study participants – sourced from different age groups – said they frequently worried about they look, as influences from media, society, picture-perfect celebrities, and the direct and indirect influences of more ‘popular’ classmates impinge on children’s body confidence at startling younger ages.
One in five surveyed teenagers claimed that they pretended to be ill in order to miss school or work due to low levels of self-confidence stemming from their appearance. The body shame even lasts into adulthood, as 86 per cent of the study’s older participants said they spend an average of one hour and thirteen minutes per day obsessing with what they see in their mirrors. The study found that most teenagers were worried about acne and ‘bad skin’, whereas adults were more concerned with weight. Both age groups were worried equally about bad hair, overall body shape and physique, along with the appearance of their stomachs. Lifestyle magazines for both men and women often devote large numbers of pages to achieving the perfect toned or flab-free stomach and chest.
Skin conditions tend to be the gripe of many people, the study found. Sixty-nine per cent of adults have been afflicted by common skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and conditions causing spots and similar. Ninety-one per cent of them had experienced breakouts of acne even in their post-teenage years.
More disturbingly, it was found that social media is increasingly harming people’s body positivity, with 71 per cent of teenagers and 53 per cent of adults feeling uncomfortable around the sharing of selfies and group photos of themselves on social media sites. Thirty-two per cent of teenagers have used filters and apps to perform virtual plastic surgery on their photos before releasing them to social media, and another 37 per cent have tried to excuse themselves from being photographed.
Outside of social media and the web, the study said that 30 per cent of adults have skipped social events due to fears about how they looked, with 17 per cent resorting to excessive amounts of make-up, 31 per cent covering up their figures with baggy clothing. Four per cent even cancelled dates over their lack of confidence in their looks
The research study was commissioned by the skincare brand Proactiv+, which surveyed 1,000 adults and 1,000 children via online survey service OnePoll. A company spokesperson told SWNS digital: “Almost everyone has concerns about their appearance at one time or another, but it’s staggering to see how young these concerns start.
“And it appears that this is a problem which doesn’t go away with age – the worries we have just change slightly instead.
“Teenagers have a lot to adjust to with puberty, a testing time at school as they approach exams and dealing with peer pressure, so the spot breakouts and acne can really affect their confidence.
“But for many these worries will also continue into adulthood leaving people really struggling with their self-esteem – especially as spots and acne are something most people only associate with the teenage years.”