Just two in five young people (39%) feel confident about their appearance, and one in ten feel depressed about the way they looked. That’s according to a new survey from the charity Changing Faces. Their research also highlighted that less than a third of young people would be friends with someone who has a visible difference – that’s a mark scar or condition which affects their appearance.
No one deserves to be bullied, left out, or treated unfairly because of the way they look.
Becky Hewitt, CEO at Changing Faces, said: “Every day children and teenagers are bombarded with messages telling them that they need to look a certain way. Magazine covers and social media portray such a narrow view of ‘beauty’, so looking different and having a visible difference in a society that wants you to look the same is tough.”
Here’s what you can do if you are treated unkindly because you look different:
- Telling someone is a big step towards getting the bullying to stop
- Young people who bully usually think you won’t tell anyone – that’s often how they get away with it
- You might not want to tell anyone – you might be worried it will make it worse. It’s not unusual to feel embarrassed or worried or scared – and it can seem like a hard thing to do
- BUT, it’s really important that you do tell someone – your parents or carers, a teacher or any adult you trust
- If you feel like you can’t do it face to face, try writing a letter or sending a text or email
- If you are hurt at school, tell a teacher straightway and ask them to report it to the school. And it’s very important to tell your parents or carers as soon as you can
- If the bullying is going on online, don’t reply to it. Take a screenshot and report it to the site or social media company, along with to a parent, teacher or youth leader.
- You can get help and advice from Changing Faces here https://www.changingfaces.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Feelingdifferent_designed.pdf
- Parents can also get helpful advice: https://www.changingfaces.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/When-teasing-becomes-bullying-designed_newlogo.pdf
If you would like support around your appearance, you can get in touch with Changing Faces via phone or fill out a form on their website. More details can be found here: https://www.changingfaces.org.uk/adviceandsupport