Adults spend a lot of time carefully crafting their reputation, but it may come as a surprise that young kids do too.

While we carefully select the perfect filter on Instagram and work on positioning ourselves in a particular light our kids are doing the same, but not in the way you think.

New research has found that kids as young as five are concerned about their image and reputation among their peers.

While we usually associate image and reputation with things such as how you dress, especially on social media, this isn’t actually what young kids are concerned about. Just think about when we let them dress themselves…

Toowong-based clinical psychologist and former teacher Dr Judith Locke, of Confident and Capable, says it’s interesting that kids as young as five are concerned about what others think of them.

“This is a form of altruistic image management rather than what we typically associate things with image on social media, which is much more on how you look and that sort of thing,” Judith says. “The research wasn’t just focused on the reputation of things like dressing the right way, it was much more focused on your image with others in turn of being kind and considerate.”

This focus on their image can see preppies doing things such as sharing their toys or listening to the teacher to gain the respect of their peers.

Judith believes this is our natural instinct with kids being naturally inclined to conduct communal behaviours as opposed to being selfish.

“We can’t forget the fact that humans survive better when they work together in a harmonious manner in groups,” Judith says. “In saying this, it makes evolutionary sense that it would be advantageous at an early age for children to be liked and accepted by their peers.”

Prior to this research it was assumed that children could not understand their reputation or image until they were nine years old.



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