Growing Pressure To Have Perfect Body Felt By Young Girls


UPDATED: Tuesday November 12, 2013 11:50 PM

When you were 10 or 11, you probably didn’t give much thought to body image.

Today, kids that age are worried more about looking like Barbie than playing Barbie. They are even having concerns about terms like “thigh gap.”

Not only are they talking with each other, but some are turning online to get strangers’ approval.

The kids are growing up in a hyper body-conscious age.

‘Selfies’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow people to post for an instant reaction.

Eleven young ladies came to 10TV to talk about that pressure to look good.

Even in 5th grade, they say both boys and girls are asking for feedback.

“And they'll write under the picture...rate me,” said one girl.

On YouTube, you can find “Am I Pretty” and “Am I Ugly” videos.

It’s terrifying for parents to think that their children are opening themselves up to sometimes brutal comments that appear below the video posts.

Especially when these girls say there’s already body image bullying at school.

“The hurtful thing is what you focus most on,” said one girl.

“That's all you're going to see and you're going to want to fix it,” added another.

“If you see a nine year old who's put that kind of content out there, that's incredibly vulnerable and even if the kids say they don't care what's said about them. They have to care,” said Dr. Terrill Bravender.

Bravender also talked about “thigh gap.” You’ve seen it in pictures, with models that have space between their legs. It’s supposed to be ideal.

These pre-teen girls say they already worry about having a “thigh gap.”

“I worried about it because I didn't want anybody to make fun of me.”

“My friends started downloading real aps to get the thigh gap.”

“I started to worry about my body...so I started doing exercises.”

One girl, named Emma, said,” I just gave up on it.”

Emma added that she quit cutting calories and took parental advice and lives with common sense.

“In order to get that sort of appearance most people have to be dangerously thin,” added Bravender.

Bravendar says that could lead to dangerous dieting, and some girls on 10TV’s panel have seen it.

The doctor tells parents to talk to your kids and monitor online behavior.

“The point of monitoring it is not to play a game of gotcha with your kid...but it's for kids to realize parents are there to help guide them,” said Bravendar.

“I would like to have that support just in case somebody came to attack me personally ,” said another girl.”

But many of the girls say they now have perspective. You can hear it in their comments:

“I love the way my parents have taught me to be my own person.”

“I don't think it should matter what people think about you.”

“Look at your opinion on how you feel”

“Just be yourself.”

“Don't focus on getting beautiful because you already are.”

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