Body image is a serious issue with teens. Often this issue is ignored until a child is in crisis of either an eating disorder or self-harm due to their warped perception of what “beauty” is. These perceptions are largely created by popular media through TV shows, movies, and advertisements.
Body image and moral values are being discussed on children’s social media feeds. One of the more corrosive influencers in popular media is the reality TV show, “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” A new disturbing social media trend is “going viral.” It is called the Kylie Jenner Challenge #kyliejennerchallenge.
Pre-teens and teens are using bottles and jugs and vacuum suction to blow up their lips in an attempt to make them bigger, to emulate the youngest member of the reality show family.
Dr. Petry, a cosmetic surgeon, said, “It’s a terrible idea. So anytime you apply suction to the face, you pull in blood and you pull in fluid. So you do, by definition increase volume That’s temporary, at best and at worst you create significant bruising. You break those blood vessels. You can even have tissue damage and scarring.”
Kylie Jenner has come out and condemned the Challenge.
A child who engages in this type of activity might be doing it because it is seen as “cool,” something that many of their peers are doing. Other children may be doing this because of their own insecurities. In either case, a parent should have a discussion with their child about the following issues:
1) Is it safe to try “challenges” that you see on the internet? There are many examples of children hurting themselves performing these challenges.
2) Parents should talk about why their child is beautiful just the way they are.
3) Parents should point out to their children that “reality TV” is scripted and staged, plus the images that they see online or in magazines are heavily photoshopped to look “perfect.”