Television's Impact on Self-image

Impact on self-image, particularly of teens, is substantial and well-documented. The combined effects of television (passivity, lowered physical activity, increased aggressiveness, sense of isolation, etc.) contribute to the negative changes in adolescent behavior over the last twenty years. Dramatic increases in anorexia, bulemia, depression, and self-mutilation over the last decade are certainly symptoms of an underlying cultural problem that television contributes to substantially. The Harvard Medical School's study on the dramatic increase of eating disorders among teen girls on Fiji after the introduction of American television is a scientific "smoking gun."

Read the Study:
Sharp Rise in Eating Disorders in Fiji Follows Arrival of TV

Diane E. Levin, professor of education at Wheelock College in Boston writes:
At a time when childhood obesity has become a major public health problem, the fast-food industry is the biggest advertiser on television. McDonald's alone spends $6 million a year on advertising. Studies show that obese children are more susceptible to the "feel good" messages embedded in advertising. At the same time, advertisers present children with models who are impossibly slim. Over one-third of girls in grades 5 to 8 report dieting in the last year, and studies document that discontent with body images rises with exposure to fashion magazines.

Read the article: Shielding Children

Helpful links:
Media's Effect On Girls: Body Image And Gender Identity
Effects of advertising on children's body image