5Rights supports UK launch of Dove's Cost of Beauty film

This week, TV screens across the UK will be graced with a powerful film - The Cost of Beauty - which tells the story of a girl called Mary. In the film we see a selection of home videos and social media posts which demonstrate how, over time, Mary changed from a happy child to a teenager whose mental and physical health is seen in rapid decline.

The film is part of the Dove Self Esteem project, supported by 5Rights, Global Action Plan, Girl Guiding and Parenting Mental Health, which draws attention to the impact social media is having on children and young peoples’ mental health.

We are backing this campaign which powerfully brings to light the harms that children can uniquely face online. Despite the fact that one in three internet users globally are children, the online environment is not built with their vulnerabilities and needs in mind, which can have devastating consequences.

Our Pathways research shone a light on how commercial objectives of digital companies translate into design choices that are harming children. Features designed to trap children in highly automated systems to maximise their attention can lead them to graphic images of self-harm, extreme diets, pornography, extremist content and introductions to adult strangers - the result of which can be seen in the film.

5Rights is committed to building a digital world children deserve. In the UK we are campaigning on amendments to the Online Safety Bill to ensure it upholds the rights of children and keeps them safe online, while also setting a global benchmark for best practice on safety by design.

Together, we can advocate for an online environment which helps preserve children’s mental health, allowing them to flourish. Visit Dove.com/KidsOnlineSafety to sign the ‘Protect Kids’ Mental Health’ petition to call for social media to be made safe by design.