Dove calls for action to prevent social media from harming kids

Dove is rolling out the Canadian components of its new global Self-Esteem Project, which is demanding action to reduce the mental health harm being caused to young people by social media.

In launching the Canadian campaign Wednesday, Dove cited new Self-Esteem Project research which revealed that social media is harming the mental health of more than half of Canadian kids, with 80% of youth mental health specialists saying it is fuelling a mental health crisis.

The research also found that 65% of kids aged 10-17 say they have seen content encouraging weight loss, and 70% said social media can make kids want to change their appearance.

In terms of Canadian specific action, Dove is working with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to support its Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario, and to help provide new virtual programming intended to increase early intervention.

Dove is also asking Canadians to sign a pre-written letter for their local Member of Parliament calling for more government regulation of social media.

The anchor of the global campaign is a powerful short film called “Cost of Beauty” that was released earlier this month. Soundtracked by a cover version of the song “You Are So Beautiful,” the film follows a vibrant young girl named Mary who, as she grows into a young teen, is bombarded by social media messages featuring unhealthy depictions of women, and eventually develops an eating disorder.

The film ends on a positive note, revealing that Mary is in recovery. It also shows a number of other young women who are recovering from serious mental health problems brought on by social media.

David Brown