A study has shown one in four children, aged nine-to-16, worry about their physical appearance and the way they look.
The startling discovery was revealed after a study, consisting of 1,000 kids between the ages of nine and 16, also admitted four out of 10 receive negative comments about the way they look.
The study also revealed how one in four consider their appearance to be one of their main worries in life.
As a child, having concerns about your looks should be the last thing on your mind. But in an image-conscious society, it’s become another variable (albeit an unnecessary one) for young people, as they try and navigate their way through to adolescence.
Carried out by sleep-tech company Simba, the study’s aim was to gauge the mental well-being among young people in the UK.
Hope Bastine, a resident psychologist for Simba, stated:
Most of us can remember the struggles we have encountered as we grew up.
Trying to find our place in the world without having to disguise who we are can be a real challenge, and it is little surprise young people are grappling with who they are and how to assess how they are judged.
But the more we encourage tolerance and celebrate our differences from an early age, the more comfortable young people will feel and the better they will sleep at night.
To raise awareness about their study, Simba held a bedtime story event, Drag Yourself to Bed, with RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar, Courtney Act.
Children from London were read Christine Baldacchino’s Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by the advocate and 2018 Celebrity Big Brother Winner.
The event is the second in a series of bedtime story get-togethers held by Simba, to try to help the nation sleep more peacefully.
Held during London Pride 2018, the evening encouraged young people to embrace their most authentic selves.
Simba’s study discovered 34 per cent of kids feel there’s a part of their appearance they want to change, while another one-in six-worry they’re ‘different’ from everybody else, and ‘won’t ever’ find a place where they fit in.
It’s resulted in a shocking 72 per cent of young people being stopped from getting a good night’s sleep because of their childhood anxieties.
The study shows the average child is kept up three nights a week by their racing minds.
Beyond body image, the study also found British children suffer from social concerns too.
A third of children regularly worry about whether people around them really like them and accept them for who they are. Another 37 per cent even want to change something about the way they behave in order to fit in better with others.
18 per cent have had pointed remarks made about their sexuality, while 16 per cent have had to defend themselves from comments on their race.
Despite feeling judged by others, 78 per cent of kids feel people should be accepted to be whoever they want to be.
Batine went on to say:
The stories we read when we’re young can play a role in shaping our childhoods. A catalyst for our imaginations, they begin to acquaint us with some of life’s bigger questions, and can act as rehearsals for future face-to-face interactions.
Stories before bed that encourage individuality and authentic self-expression can help to develop compassion, creativity and a positive outlook.
Sleep is so important to our growth when we are younger, both physically and mentally.
Feeling anxious can lead to sleeplessness, and feeling tired at school or in our social circles can lead to added tensions and disagreements that could have been avoided. Sleep gives us great stuff for free – it makes us sharper, healthier and calmer.
Past studies have shown just 27 extra minutes can contribute to improvements in empathy and emotional behaviour in school.
In a chaotic world, encouraging young people to embrace calming rituals, such as screen curfews before bed, can help them to decompress and dissolve some of the stresses of the day before bed.
Speaking at the bedtime story event in London, Act stated:
A good night’s sleep is a super-important part of feeling good.
I’m an eight to 10 hours a night kind of gal. I know when there’s lots of stuff racing around in my head it can be hard to sleep and stay asleep.
And one of the biggest things that used to keep me awake at night was worrying about my gender and sexuality.
Pride is a time to celebrate what makes us unique and the more we let young people know that those things that make us different are actually our greatest strengths, the more comfortable we are in our own skin.
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