While many parents try to keep their children away from social media, they may have a hard time convincing them that it’s not necessary for everyone. It’s difficult enough being the parent of a small child. So, as a responsible mother and homeowner, I don’t want my 12-year-old daughter Madeline to be made
When the Maryland mother opened her seventh-grade child’s school picture package from Lifetouch and discovered it suggested parents spend an extra $12 for portrait “retouching” services including teeth whitening, skin-tone evening, and blemish removal, she was horrified.
“I was shocked,” Greene, 43, said in a statement to the Post.
“I completely disagree with [retouching a child’s school picture], because it’s teaching kids that they need to look perfect all the time and that they can change [a perceived flaw] with the click of a mouse.”
School pictures aren’t new, but digital retouching options are now available to youngsters as young as pre-K and are becoming just as common as face-altering filters on social media, which have resulted in an increase in mood disorders among adolescent girls.
To make her point, Greene, a travel blogger and social media administrator, accused the firm on Twitter.
“I’m going to need someone to explain to me why @Lifetouch offers PHOTO RETOUCH for KIDS school pics?!” she tweeted late last month. “What the hell?!”
She said she never got a response. Lifetouch told The Post that it does not have data on the number of people who are charged an annual fee after their free trial expires.“Our goal is always to authentically capture each child we photograph. Photo retouch is an entirely opt-in service that customers choose to add on to photo packages. Most, if not all, school photography companies offer this service and it’s an expectation as an available option for schools.”
Last November, when Kristin Loerns received her son Kieran’s school photographs, she had a startled look on her face. His adorable freckles were gone.
“I gave permission for ‘basic retouching,’ which would be removing blemishes, and they removed all of his freckles instead,” “The worst thing about this is that we’re not allowed to laugh,” he said. “We’re just sitting here and every day, we lose a little bit of air.”
After the session was over, Lee informed Lifetouch that she thought her children were older than they had been documented. She claimed that Lifetouch remedied the problem by sending new photos with Kieran’s endearing freckles restored.
It’s not always about airbrushing a youngster’s skin, teeth, or flaws. The removal of the term “Trey” from an alumni title appears to be another example.
-year-old son’s hearing aids from his classroom photograph. Her anger over the apparent affront had more than 2.2 million views on TikTok.
“These are my son’s hearing aids. They aid him in hearing and are a part of who he is; they’re his favorites,” Rose said on her TikTok account, @TheseDeafKidsRock.
“It’s sending a message to him that part of who he is, his hearing loss, is something he should be ashamed of.”
Heidi Green, a Manhattan mother of two who specializes in event and professional portrait photography and spent ten years taking school photos, said it’s frequently the parents who demand perfection.
“The parent feels like they had to get [the flaw] fixed in order to enjoy the school picture, or to make the child look better,” she said.
Retouching, which was defined by the general public as cosmetic photo editing, is a grey area that photographers must navigate carefully. There’s a fine line between standard picture editing and retouching that may be harmful; particularly if the perceived fault is apparent.
A parent asked Green to remove a life-long scar on her daughter’s face after she discovered a birth defect.
“I felt bad about it,” she said. “I smoothed it out a little bit so that she’d be happy with the picture without changing much.
“Removing a permanent scar to me would be like saying, ‘Can you make my child’s eyes blue?’” Green added. “Because why would you want your kid to look in the picture like they don’t look in real life?”
However, not all modifications are evil, according to Green. She has long offered free retouchings for youngsters with obvious scratches, flaws, or unkempt hair from playing or eyeglass glare because she believes that these pictures need correcting. Minor tooth whitening is one of the many edits made during the photo-editing procedure.
Minor touch-ups, such as these, are unlikely to catch the attention of children. In fact, according to NYU Langone child psychologist Yamalis Diaz, they will not be aware of them.
While it is generally a positive experience for children to be photographed, there are times when they should not be photographed. When a youngster learns that their permanent features have been altered in a photograph — and no longer reflect what they observe in the mirror — this is concerning.
“Could that start to make them feel inadequate? … Can that lead to some anxiety and depressed mood, eating disorders, body dysmorphia? Absolutely,” Diaz said.
Children, on the other hand, are in an “evolution” phase of self-awareness — and just changing a school photograph might be harmful.“Instead of accepting your physical characteristics, your disability, your features, your appearance, you’re supposed to be fixing it or hiding it,” Diaz said. “And that is a dangerous message to send.”