It's National #MyTrueSelfie Day!

Shocking research reveals nationwide image issues  for young people marking launch of ‘My True Selfie’ campaign


As young people break up for the school holidays, new figures released by a YouGov poll, commissioned by the youth charity The Diana Award, reveal that negative body image and low self-esteem are a cause for concern amongst young people.   Additionally, as young people get older, it appears that selfies could be more likely to negatively affect their self esteem.


The launch of ‘My True Selfie’ comes as The Diana Award marks this 20th Anniversary year with a year-long series of events that celebrate Princess Diana’s qualities of kindness and compassion.   


This new online survey reveals a staggering 71% of GB young people who use social media surveyed, aged between 10 and 16, believe social media makes people think about how they look all the time, compared to 66% of adults. Furthermore, 44% of young people surveyed believe selfies make people less likely to be happy with the way they look.


These stats are released for The Diana Award’s #MyTrueSelfie day, supported by ASOS, on Tuesday 18 July.  The campaign urges the nation to capture theirs on or from the My True Selfie App and give young people a platform to celebrate their individuality. Users are invited to take an unfiltered, unaltered selfie and surround it with positive words / emojis which describe who they truly are. The user can then download or share their single selfie or 3-selfie GIF.


These figures are supported by the fact that nearly a quarter (24%) of young people surveyed have taken more than 10 selfies to get the perfect one, compared to 12% of adults. Almost a fifth (19%) of young people have changed the way they look in a picture before posting on social media, compared to 8% of adults who use social media.  1 in 10 young people have gone as far as altering their appearance because of a selfie they have taken, compared to 7% of adults.


According to other research, there are over 1 million selfies taken each day but The Diana Award feel that the ‘self’ part of these pictures is getting a little lost. Issues with body image and self-esteem is are a growing issue, particularly amongst young people: around half of girls and up to one third of boys have dieted to lose weight, and over half of bullying experienced by young people in a 2014 study was because of appearance. According the the poll however some people are staying clear - 35% of adults who use social media have never taken a selfie compared to 21% of young people surveyed.


These findings demonstrate the detrimental effects that our selfie culture is having on our children’s confidence and highlight the body image and societal pressures they suffer from.  The Diana Award has worked in partnership with ASOS since 2015 on a body confidence and self-esteem project with workshops running in schools across the UK.  As part of the second year of this partnership The Diana Award created #MyTrueSelfie, a web-based app version of a self-esteem boosting activity.


Created by photographer, filmmaker and producer Thomas Knights and co-developed by Assistant Head Teacher Simon Brooks, #MyTrueSelfie originally started as a workshop at one of Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Week events. The students involved got so much out of the workshop that they decided to encourage people across the online world to be proud of their differences.


Celebrities are sharing their very own ‘true’ selfies to show their support for the campaign such as Susanna Reid, Jessica Wright, Rebekah Vardy, Arielle Free, Michelle Heaton, James McVey, Chloe Lloyd and Yinka Bokinni.


Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Psychologist, who supports the campaign, commented:

"Being concerned with how we look is nothing new, we have always taken pictures and compared ourselves to others- what seems different today is that we are engaging with our self image in an almost obsessive and potentially unhealthy way.  The process of taking dozens of photos, discarding the ones that aren't right, then spending time editing and choosing filters, posting and then waiting for feedback from others (which may be disappointing) is in effect a cognitive exercise in poor body image and self esteem yet it’s a process young people go though daily.   We’ve got to the point that some people feel that they can’t live up to their selfies and this has to change."


Thomas Knights commented:

“My True Selfie enables people to truly define themselves for who they are on the inside.  As a nation, we spend ages trying to filter our lives; making ourselves appear to be having a great time or look better.  Our idea is to bring it back to what makes us unique and different as people and nurture acceptance.  Please show your support by sharing your TRUE selfie!”


Louise McCabe, Director of Corporate Responsibility, ASOS said,
"Giving young people the confidence to be who they want to be is central to ASOS's purpose so we wholeheartedly support the My True Selfie campaign, a brilliant initiative that smartly tackles the issues of low self-esteem and body confidence."