To tackle the issue of media effects on children’s perceptions of body image, four final year students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information launched the “Love Every Body” campaign. Educational activities such as drama workshops and an electronic storybook launch event were held to engage children aged 7 to 12 in Singapore.
Research done by the students found that children’s perceptions of body image are heavily influenced by media messaging and how parents react towards the issue. In‐depth interviews conducted with several media and child psychology experts revealed that media often portrays beauty according to western standards.
According to Assistant Professor Myojung Chung, from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University, this can have a negative impact on Asian children.
Prof Chung said children often get such ideas from cartoons or movies, where the most characters have blue eyes and pale skin. “Children yearn to achieve these standards. If nothing is done, these perceptions will persist throughout their adulthood,” she said.
Based on the findings, a series of drama workshops, “Superhero Me!”, were conducted to educate children on media’s effects on body image. Superhero Me! encouraged children to discover their inner talents and strengths using drama techniques, narratives and other relevant theatrical elements to engage the young minds.
An illustration‐heavy children’s electronic storybook was also launched on 27th February 2016 at Woodlands Regional Library, as a creative tool for young children to learn more about the issue. Titled “How To Be A Hero”, it aims to build self‐esteem in children by highlighting the importance of inner beauty over outward appearances.
“How To Be a Hero” is now available for download via the following link: https://goo.gl/EjyqH3.
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