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  • Hurting to Be Perfect": The Risks of a Negative Self-Image"

  • Whether we like it or not, we live in an image-obsessed society. We are inundated with celebrity and media ideals that heavily influence many individuals to strive to attain an unrealistic image and body ideal. This can hurt anyone's self-perception and it can be considerably damaging to teenagers and adolescents, who are still growing. In addition, it may influence them to engage in risk behaviors.

    It can be normal for teens to compare themselves to others as they work on arriving at their own unique identities. However, in the area of body image this can take the form of comparing themselves to unrealistic media images.

    Children's mental health experts at Bradley Hospital say it is helpful to discuss with teens the ways in which media images are unrealistic due to airbrushing and computerized alterations. It is also important to encourage teens to embrace their unique qualities. Recognizing that there is no one ideal of physical attractiveness helps teens build self confidence.