Young people & body image – all we don’t know
If you’re an adult, it can be challenging to know what’s going on in a young person’s head. It can be even harder to understand young people as a group–their perspective in relation to their world and the culture. Fortunately, the annual Mission Australia’s Youth Survey, that tries to understand young people’s aspirations, values, and concerns, receives more than 20,000 responses each year.
One consistently eye-opening finding is that since 2017 body image has landed as one of the top three to four issues for young people. However, Mission Australia doesn’t ask why.
“It’s more like a metal detector,” admits Rachel Christie, who heads up their Centre for Evidence and Insights. Helen Bird, Butterfly’s Education Services Manager, agrees. “If we can get more data, then we can provide effective prevention and support programs. So, for a deeper dive into the body image experiences of young Australians, we’re launching our own survey this year.”
We know that our bodies are not the problem, it’s our thoughts and feelings about them that cause us distress. However, to understand young people’s experience and views about body image, we need to ask them. In this episode, we talk to the experts and a young person about what we don’t know, need to know, and how to proceed.