Laois Comhairle na nÓg members with Laois County Council staff at their annual meeting . Picture Michael Scully
Have you ever thought about how body image could damage you or your child?
Body image issues are linked to low self-esteem and affects up to 80% of young people.
Body image and its impacts were the focus of the Laois Comhairle na nÒg annual meeting at the Midland Park Hotel Portlaoise on Wednesday, November 7.
Students from schools across Laois gathered to discuss how body image impacts teenagers and on solutions to help resolve the difficulties it may cause.
Students took their lead from Elaine Boyle, Laois Comhairle na nÒg co-ordinator.
She encouraged everyone to give their views.
"We want to hear what you want. It's time for you to have your opinions, ideas and suggestions listened to," she said.
One of the issues on the day was the effects of social media on body image.
Social media plays a central role in the lives of adolescents, influencing body image and a certain perception of beauty.
Teens often see social media as a means of supporting their ideas through the use of hashtags and the promotion of certain ads.
Today, teenagers aren't just exposed to their peers around them but now access opinions and behaviours from thousands of people.
Many young people spoke about the importance of raising awareness. They want adults and teachers to be more aware of the issue.
A lot of students believe body image should no longer be disregarded because it can cause problems in the future.
Many suggestions were made on what can be done to tackle the problem. 'Body Image Awareness week' was one of the most popular ideas. Another idea was to develop a place in which young people can go to, to talk and get help on this issue.
Introducing the topic of body image into conversations and classes in schools was also mentioned.
Many people feel they had no place in their local area and county to go to and talk to someone if they may have any problems in their personal lives.
It was also revealed that teenagers agreed that they would not feel comfortable talking to their school counsellor about body image.
Students believed that raising awareness will encourage many others to be open about their personal experiences and seek help they need.
Laois Comhairle na nÒg exists to give young people a voice on local services and policies.
Reported by Amy Doyle, Transition Year student at Scoil Chríost Rí Portlaoise.