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Three in five teen girls say they struggle with body image due to social media

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Three in five teenage girls in Ireland are struggling with their body image because of social media, according to a new survey.

It is among the worrying insights into the mindset, mental health and sense of self-esteem among 12- to 19-year-old girls to emerge in the research.

The wide-ranging survey also found that four in five teen girls don’t feel they will have the same opportunities as boys.

The survey, which was conducted among 500 12-19-year-olds last week, reveals

*90pc have negative thoughts about themselves

*80pc don’t feel they will have the same opportunities as boys

*77pc don’t ‘feel beautiful’

*almost 60pc agree that they have worries or anxieties that nobody knows about

*84pc think negative thoughts about the world around them.

The research was conducted by The Shona Project, an initiative to support teenage girls to tackle issues such as bullying, low self-esteem and anxiety, in an era of social media. The survey was done in association with The Youth Lab and the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU).

Other findings were that in the past six months, 61pc claimed that because of social media they struggled with low body image, 55pc felt isolated, 52pc struggled with low self-esteem and 48pc with low mental health.

The teenagers were also asked about potential threats in their daily lives and 61pc felt unsafe in the evening and night time and 56pc said they didn’t know what they would do if they experienced bullying.   

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About 33pc agreed that their parents did not have a good understanding of what was going on in their lives.

On the issue of sports, two in five (42pc) said they had given up sports activity in the last 24 months, citing a lack of motivation as the main reason.

Shona Project founder and CEO Tammy Darcy said young women were “feeling more stressed, isolated and anxious than ever before”.   

The project will hold its annual Shine festival next month to mark International Day of the Girl.


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