After nearly three years of not being able to visit schools as part of her #Liedentity campaign, the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Rachel Treweek, recently spent time in The Cotswold School and met with students to talk about body image and how social media makes them feel.
For young people, social media is not just a tool, it’s a lifestyle, and for many, their obsession with it is a daily struggle.
The liedentity campaign raises awareness of body image anxiety in young people and shares the message that who you are is more than how you look. Disturbingly, but not surprisingly, the most recent Good Childhood Report highlighted that more children were unhappy with their appearance than any other aspect of life.
Students at The Cotswold School shared with us that comparing themselves to others online is a real problem. One student said, “We see these perfect Instagram images and it gives you the feeling of being left out and of not being good enough.” Another said, “I know it’s bad for me, but I’m obsessed with it.”
Bishop Rachel said, “Rooted in my Christian faith, my desire is that every one of us knows how special we are and that our value comes from who we are on the inside. But that is hard, especially for young people who are seeking their identities from the mostly false world of social media. That is why I visit schools and talk about these issues, in the hope that we can change the message that who we are is all about how we look, and that there is no perfect body image, we are all unique.
“Just this week I was at an event in the House of Lords at which I signed Luke Evans MP’s body image pledge, which is pushing brands and advertisers not to digitally alter images of bodies. We also need to keep pushing the Government to ensure tech companies are held accountable for the safety of their users and protect children from harmful content.”
This short video shares some highlights from the conversations Bishop Rachel had with the students at The Cotswold School.