Media and magazine images influence on maturing teens

Media and magazine images influence on maturing teens and young adults. Although some recent research suggests the prevalence of body dissatisfaction may have stabilized or even decreased slightly in the past few years as youth populations in this country diversify (Ferguson, Muñoz, Garza, and Galindo, 2014), rates available from published research are still cause for concern. More than half of girls (55–59%) and approximately a third of boys (33–35%) age 6 to 8 indicate their ideal bodies are thinner than their current body (Lowes & Tiggemann, 2003).

Media and magazine images influence on maturing teens

Media and magazine images have tremendous influence on maturing teens and young adults. View the four videos below and choose one to discuss. Make suggestions for how to promote change on these issues and how to support young people in developing a positive self image.


Self Image
Male Body Image

Young Kids

Really young children begin to develop body image alongside the growth of their physical, cognitive, and social abilities; even infants have a general sense of their bodies (Slaughter & Brownell, 2013). Nearly a third of children age 5 to 6 choose an ideal body size that is thinner than their current perceived size (Hayes & Tantleff-Dunn, 2010). By age 6, children are aware of dieting and may have tried it (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2004, 2006; Lowes & Tiggemann, 2003).

Twenty-six percent of 5-year-olds recommend dieting behavior (not eating junk food, eating less) as a solution for a person who has gained weight (Lowes & Tiggemann, 2003), and by the time they’re 7 years old, one in four children has engaged in some kind of dieting behavior. Moreover, young children engage with some of the more extreme body portrayals in media in the form of toys such as dolls and action figures. Some research indicates that children’s cartoons already portray thinness positively (Klein & Shiffman, 2005).

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