How can toys and cartoons affect my child's body image?

Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy
Barbie is just one example of how the media favors an unrealistic ideal when it comes to body shapes and sizes. Let's not forget He-man and G.I. Joe when we consider what toys suggest to children. There are toys and cartoons and then there are airbrushed images in magazines and movie stars. Call it unrealistic or idealism, we are surrounded from early childhood. The problem comes when we start to expect this impossibly unrealistic exaggeration from ourselves as real people. That is when we can start to see unhealthy attempts to achieve such impossible ideals and the development of eating disorders.

When our children watch cartoons and play with toys like Barbie, it is important that we also expose them to realistic, healthy images. It is important that we check our own attitudes about body image and the worth of a person based on more than dress size. While the toys we play with impact our childhood, ultimately it is a parent who has the greatest influence on a child and his or her self-esteem.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.