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By allowing my seven-year-old to watch Hannah Montana, Cheetah Girls, High School Musical, etc., am I setting her up for body image issues later?
Some seem fine, like iCarly, who is intelligent, doesn't dress like a diva, doesn't lie (or tries not to lie), and produces a web show with her friends (she also maintains a supportive relationship with her brother). But some of the girl characters on Disney, Nickelodeon, etc. worry me a bit.
Like Hannah Montana, the Cheetah Girls and the High School Musical girls. They may be better suited for older girls (pre-teen and/or teen), even though they strongly appeal to the younger girls. The characters dress teen-style and the episodes seem to be focused on (innocent) romantic relationships and teen themes. On the positive side: the storylines also seem to communicate values of truth-telling and doing the right thing, including doing well in school.
But by allowing my daughter to occasional watch these shows (and to have the associated dolls, toys, backpacks & other memorabilia), am I setting her up for a low self-esteem and body image issues later in junior high or high school? Will she face these issues regardless of the TV shows, and what can I do as a parent to help her develop a strong self esteem and love herself in any size, shape or style?
I suspect that if I ban these shows (turning them into forbidden fruit), I could expand the problem, and I'm thinking there must be other ways to help girls develop strong self-esteem. What do you think?