Body confidence: What do young girls think?

Last updated at 15:57
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How we feel about our bodies and the way we look is an important issue for many young people in the UK.

Now, a new survey has showed that many young girls in the UK don't feel happy with the way they look.

The Girls' Attitudes Survey 2016 carried out by Girlguiding found that more than one in six girls aged between seven and 10 years old quite often feel embarrassed or ashamed about how they look.

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What exactly are young girls feeling?

From a young age, many girls feel that the way they look is extremely important to them.

But it isn't just about how pretty they feel they are. There are other things that the results of the survey suggested are important, like what people think of the clothes they wear or how much they weigh.

Almost two in five girls aged between seven and 10 years old do not always feel they are pretty enough. A similar number feel they need to lose weight.

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One of the main reasons that girls feel this way is because they are worried about what other people say - and it's not just a problem for young girls.

Many girls up to even the age of 21 are worried about what other people think of them.

Another thing the results showed was that more young girls nowadays are unhappy with how they look than there used to be five years ago. This suggests they feel that looks are becoming more important.

Why do girls feel this way?

One of the main reasons young girls tend to feel unhappy about the way they look is because of pressure from other people.

This doesn't have to be pressure from their friends or people they know at school. Many girls compare themselves to celebrities.

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This can be a problem because it's hard to know what celebrities lives are really like. They may not be as glamorous or perfect as what we see in magazines or on social media. If girls compare themselves to this, it may make them feel like they are not good enough.

It's also very easy for young girls to compare themselves to friends or other people at school.

The main reason young girls feel worried about how they look is a fear of people judging them or having a nasty opinion about them.

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What's more, it's not just what people say out loud that might be a problem. More than one in ten girls aged seven to 10 years old have experienced cyber-bullying online, meaning it can be a worry what is said on social media too.

What effect does this have?

More than one in three girls feel that people make them think that how they look is the most important thing, rather than things like how hard they work at school or how great their other talents might be.

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Many don't wear clothes that they would like to wear because they're worried about what other people might say.

Others don't want to have their picture taken or feel they don't want to get involved in sports because they are worried people will say horrid things about the way they look.

Being worried about what other people think can stop young girls from wanting to socialise and have fun with their friends too.

Because of all of these things, young girls may be held back from living how they want to live because of fears about what people will say or think about the way they look.

What next?

Many young girls said that one of the most important things to do to improve the way girls and women feel about the way they look is that they should stop being judged for what they look like.

As one young girl told Girlguiding: 'I want every girl to be happy with how they look.'

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If young girls are allowed to stop worrying what people think about them and enjoy being themselves the way they want to be, then they can start to feel more confident about the way they look.

If you are worried about your body confidence or about something someone has said about you, it's really important to speak to an adult.

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Newsround made a special programme, called Being Me, exploring what kids think about their body image (March 2015)