Make it a legal requirement for photoshopped images to come with a written warning

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Technology is increasingly interwoven into our lives and the detrimental effects of new media on our body image and mental health are becoming very clear. Social media encourages us to become our own marketing machines, always “on” and constantly self-promoting. Given its largely visual nature, these platforms encourage us to become defined by our physical bodies.
Resultantly we are seeing the rise of photoshopping, digital manipulation and face-tuning apps which all aim to perfect self-image and project a sense of bodily perfection to followers. This is a very dangerous territory, misleading young people, distorting their sense of self and leaving them with confused sense of reality.   

A growing body of research illuminates the negative effects of media on young people’s mental health. According to NHS research published in the Guardian, the UK has an eating disorder epidemic with number of people seeking hospital admission for potentially life-threatening eating disorders doubling in the last six years, with numbers soared to 13,885 in the year to April 2017, up from 7,260 in the period 2010-11. Behavioural data published in peer-reviewed JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association is a peer-reviewed medical journal) shows that there has been a 60% increase in hospital admissions for self-harm since 2001. This is supported by the Good Children Report 2018 by the Children’s Society which finds 1 in 4 girls aged 14 have attempted self-harm. Further research shows that the fear of no ‘likes’ - putting yourself out there and watching for feedback from your peers is catastrophic for mental health, especially for girls. What unites all of this statistics is they are based on the Gen Z and young Millennial demographic - all of whom have grown up online - immersed in social media.

This petition proposes we implement new legislation that can potentially protect young people against some of the negative effects of social media, with relation to body image and mental health. While we cannot get rid of the photoshopping or digital enhancement tools, we can aim to reduce the effect of their impact on young people by explaining that these images have been altered and are therefore not realistic. The Fat Girl #FakeBodies campaign thus asks the UK government to implement the use of written warnings (like on cigarette packets) onto photoshopped - calling out that these images have been altered. Academic papers (Slater et al 2012 and Veldhuis et al 2010) suggests these types of warnings could have a positive effect in helping people understand what is real and what is not.

Young people’s mental health is in danger and the #FakeBodies campaign is a positive step towards a preventative measure. We urge you to support and share this petition.

Thank you SO MUCH for your support, it means such a lot.

Clemmie A.K.A Fat Girl

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