Social media influencers need to take fewer selfies to help the fight against negative body image, the education secretary says.
Damian Hinds, speaking on Stop Cyberbullying Day, said children are growing up with a “warped” view of what is normal because of the fake images they see online.
He is urging them to take responsibility for their young followers and use the hashtag #notedited as well as be more transparent about online images that have been altered.
“Children are growing up with a warped view of what is normal because so much of what they see on social media is false,” the MP for East Hampshire said.
“These days there’s a filter for everything, so much so that when something ‘real’ goes online it’s tagged as #nofilter but there should also be #notedited.
“I want social media influencers to think about what they are putting on their platform – is it honest? Is it authentic? Is it too image-focused?”
He also tweeted saying “let’s have fewer selfies, more natural reality, to make progress against negative body image”.
He says all online influencers, social media companies, TV channels and streaming sites need to “take their responsibility more seriously because their world is one we spend so much time in”.
“We need action now to stop today’s young people facing a lifetime of abuse online,” he added.
From 2020, children will learn about internet safety and harms at school, including unrealistic expectations of body image and how people may present a specific image of their life online, as well as the importance of mental and physical well-being.