Our latest Digital Diaries research shows that more than two in ten children said they had edited photos of themselves before posting them online. Photoshopping at age 11 -13? Twenty-two percent of kids surveyed reported they had. Why?
Globally, thirty percent of the kids who altered their photos said they did so to make them look better. Thirty four percent (34%) said they edited to make the photo look like more fun. And girls (21%) were more prone to do the editing than boys.
In the age of Facebook and Instagram, this definitely ties into the pressures we place on kids as a society to look perfect – and unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated by models and movie stars (many of whom are often Photoshopped).
Here in the U.S., did you know that one of the options now offered for school photos is to Photoshop your kid’s photo? You can take care of any imperfections like braces, blemishes and teeth whitening that might make the photos appear less than perfect.
In 2010, when The New York Times reported on the emergence of the phenomena, some of the leading school portrait photography companies reported up to 10% of elementary school photos were being altered. What kind of message does this photo altering send to kids?
“If we encourage kids to want to erase their imperfections when they’re very young, how will they ever be able to handle acne…or wrinkles?” wrote a young blogger who has written about the negative effects of Photoshopping on young people—specifically girls on social media.
Which brings us back to digital parenting…There’s a lot here for us to continue to ponder as we and our families live more and more of our lives always on and online.
It’s important for parents to show their children that what they see online or in the movies isn’t always real. The digital doctoring of images in the pursuit of ‘perfection’ can have damaging consequences for the self-image and confidence of young girls and boys.
The digital world holds a host of opportunity and excitement for our children, but as parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, it’s our job to guide them and educate them in the pro’s, con’s and deceptions that it can bring with it.