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This paper explores how the media negatively affects children ages 5-17, the extent of
the media’s impact, and organizations working to combat the media’s negative influence.
Media, which includes celebrities and fashion models, video games, toys, television, movies,
magazines, and advertisements, as well as clothing stores and the fashion industry, promotes
the thin ideal. The media tends to only promote thin people as attractive, and the messages
of the media’s content also promote thinness. This has been proven to influence children’s
body image and self-esteem levels. This has far-reaching implications—media exposure
increases body dissatisfaction and lowers self-esteem, and can lead to even more serious
problems including anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders. Some
nonprofit organizations, celebrities, and corporations are working to combat the media’s
negative messages, but so far the pervasive message of the thin ideal continues to dominate.