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Selfies can cause more misery for children than bullying, according to an academic study. It highlighted online photos that make teenagers question their bodies and their appearance.

The University of Birmingham researchers analysed 1,300 responses from children aged 13 to 18 to determine their attitude to networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

They found a fashion for being ‘slim thick’ – with a small waist and large bottom, the shape of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez.

‘One of the issues we saw in this report were selfies, which, because they are coming from other young people, heighten the level of peer pressure,’ said lead author Dr Victoria Goodyear. ‘People think it is pictures of celebrities which have an influence on young people’s body image, but they can dismiss these as being the result of gym regimes or plastic surgery.’

One girl told the academics: ‘Peer pressure is a bigger problem than cyber bullying.’ Another said selfies made for difficult comparisons between friends.

The study was published in the journal Sport, Education and Society.

Daily Mail