Yesterday I was on YouTube. I didn’t do any writing, I was just trying to get the word out about my blog and draw in readers from the body positive community. What I found was quite astonishing. I was going through my LoveYourFigure playlist and across Loey Lane, Buzz Feed, videos that were boosting confidence, I found many young viewers had flocked to these videos because they were insecure. Girls as young as 10 were on YouTube, asking if they were too tall, too short, too heavy or too light. Most of the comments were made up of pre-adolescent/early adolescent girls sharing their measurements and seeking reassurance. I found this astonishing for a number of reasons.
Firstly, How are the parents of girls this young allowing them free access to the internet and not monitoring their tracks? There are sick men and women that could easily try and manipulate the situation and I found it so odd that many children had YouTube accounts, were commenting the hell out of those videos, and were making themselves look to vulnerable on the internet. When I was this age, my computer didn’t even have internet. My parents refused to buy it. We had a big, boxy desk top computer with Windows 95 on it. I don’t even have a mobile phone until I was 11. Our computer was used for Paint and for games. This freedom that is given to children, unchecked, is surely dangerous? My parents, back in the early stages of social media, would let me have it. I had to wait until I was around fourteen until I could make a Bebo account (I had made one earlier at a friends, but I felt so guilty for disobeying my parents that I deleted it before they could find out). Parents these days aren’t taking internet safety seriously, or into consideration and are letting their children go wild. I myself know this first hand, from how one of my sisters has used Facebook. She should be old enough to know better now, but she still does silly things. It can be degrading. Once you leave something on the Internet anyone can find it, if they know where to look and they can do all kinds of things. So, the first part of this message is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch what your children do on the internet; watch what they post, manage their accounts. If you’re a child reading this then I want you to think about what you write, who can see it, and whether it’s appropriate. Would you want your friends to see it? Your parents? Your grandparents? If the answer is no, then don’t. Could a dirty old man or woman see it and take advantage? If the answer is yes, then don’t.
The next part of this post, is teaching children about health and happiness. Now, as I was saying earlier. These children were on YouTube seeking approval about their physical qualities. Obesity is a large problem, so much so that that could be a pun. This problem is another thing that could be prevented by cautious parenting. Over feeding causes obesity. A child is very unlikely to cook their own dinner. I know, from my own experience that it can be hard on the child. My parents gave me a packed lunch at school and expected me to pick up a cooked dinner at school. I played a lot of sport and burned MOST of it off but if I hadn’t have been so competitive, I probably would have been a very fat child. My parents were so worried that I wouldn’t get enough to eat that they gave me too much to eat. I don’t think this is a rare thought either. I mean, I’m happy that my parents did make sure I ate well, but not every child is competitive and likes sports activities, which is where parents also should be encouraging their children because exercise is important. It’s up to the parents whether or not their children eat correctly. Children shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not they’re getting fat. It’s something that could damage their childhood and give them insecurities far into their adult life.
Being called names is the worst. Name calling is so damaging for a child’s self image. I myself remember many times relatives had called me a ‘porker’ or ‘tubs’, and it’s only now that I’m starting to become more accepting and confident about how I look. This could happen even if the child isn’t fat and it’s damaging to their mental health. Childhood is meant to be a positive, fun, carefree time, but from what I saw of the young girls comments, it seemed anything but. It’s sad. It’s really sad. Parent’s and relatives do need to be more delicate about these subjects. Kids can have a hard enough time at school, which out coming home, or to a family environment and suffer from bullying. That’s what it is. It’s bullying and it’s humiliating.
How you, as a parent, choose to see themselves is also a big deal. Self criticism and deconstruction of self is taught. If you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and picking yourself apart and calling out all our bad bits, then your child is going to see that and do the same. They will copy your self hatred. You need to be a positive role model for your children. You need to show them why it’s important that you love yourself. It’s so important that this self love starts at home. The media is so rife with negative images and messages that good role models are needed. I think it’ll be a long time before kids can see and understand diversity on the TV, on the radio, in magazines, on shop windows even. All of these places affect you and your children, and how they think and feel about themselves. Kids are innocent and vulnerable.
This is a long post but I have a LOT to say. This whole thing has been also brought to my attention from Kylie Jenner and her ‘transformation’. Everybody grows up. Everyone will change BUT at seventeen, a parent shouldn’t be allowing their child to have plastic surgery. Her relatives should not have been encouraging her to have plastic surgery. They SHOULD have been encouraging her to embrace who she is and how she looks. I saw a Buzzfeed type picture collage on the ‘evolution’ of Kylie and it made me feel so sad. She never had a childhood. At twelve years old, she looked like she was my age and should have been attending university or working. Her parents have robbed her of her childhood. Instead of protecting her, they managed her and have turned her into a money making scheme. In my eyes, her parents are monsters and I genuinely feel sorry for her. In the UK, seventeen is not considered an adult, but it’s close. In America, seventeen is no where near considered an adult. If she chose to change herself in such a way, when she became an adult, then fair game. People do it all the time. I still think it’s wrong and that people should be happy with themselves, but that’s not always how the world works and sometimes people aren’t who they want to be, but at seventeen, you’re still just a teenager.
Anyway, that’s my rant and lesson over. I hope you enjoyed reading this long, long post and I’ll see you soon x