Portrait companies offer to retouch school photos, and parents are divided on this

An image of a camera on a colored background.

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Parents often look for ways to minimize physical appearance with their children and show them that beauty isn’t just superficial.

But societal pressures still exist. The last exhibition? Photo editing offers at school.

Jennifer Greene, a 43-year-old mom from Maryland, was outraged when her 12-year-old daughter, Madeline, came home with pricing information from a photography company called Lifetouch. The package urged parents to spend $ 12 to retouch their child’s school photos.

“I was shocked,” Greene said recently. New York Post. “I do not agree at all with [retouching a child’s school picture], because it teaches children that they must always be perfect and that they can change [a perceived flaw] with the click of a mouse. “

Greene also called Lifetouch on Twitter.

“I’m going to need someone to explain to me why @Lifetouch is offering a PHOTO EDIT for the KIDS school photos ?! What is this ?!” Greene tweeted.

Reviews were mixed, however. Some agreed with Greene.

“[I] think that children should be able to see their scars, braces or freckles. Why tell them these are things to hide? ” read an answer, in part.

“I received the package from my daughter to buy and I also found that disturbing. My daughter is a senior in HS, and I find it disgusting to try to tell them that they are not okay. good as they are “, answered another. The user also posted a screenshot of the package, which included options to remove features such as a child’s braces, facial touch-ups, and scar or jewelry removal.

But others weren’t afraid of having the option of photo editing.

“Just because you don’t agree with the touch-up doesn’t mean other parents can’t agree with it… let others choose the option if they wish. ” one person said.

“I can tell you why. My son got scratched by his cat on the cheek a few days before photo day. I wish we had that option. Now he’s embarrassed every time he sees this photo on. our fridge and her aunt’s house. What about her feelings about it? ” wrote another.

As the debate escalated, a Twitter user who claims to be a former photographer offered common ground.

“I understand where you’re coming from. My policy when touching up children was to remove things that were not normal parts of a child’s features (pimples, scratches, bruises, etc.). the rest remains unless requested, ” he wrote. Greene replied that she agreed with this approach.

Greene is not alone, however. Last year, another mom shared the photos of her child side by side. In one, from the spring, the kid had pretty freckles. In the other, Lifetouch had edited them without her permission (she said New York Post the company corrected it by returning photos intact.) And another mom on TikTok lamented that a publisher removed her son’s hearing aids from her school snapshot.

Photos – and the way they play on body image issues – have been making headlines recently. In October, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, revealed that the company, now known as Meta, had internal research showing that Instagram makes teens feel worse about their bodies.

Parents can work with their kids on body image issues and prevent them with some expert advice:

  • Be a role model of positive behavior. Eliminate words like “fat” and “diet” from your vocabulary and avoid making negative comments about your appearance like, “This dress really shows that I didn’t lose the baby weight.” “

  • Compliment wisely. When complimenting your child, don’t just focus on appearance. Instead of saying, “You did a great job covering your acne with makeup,” try, “You look so beautiful inside and out. “

  • Watch how you talk about food. Rather than labeling foods “good” or “bad”, choose foods “always” and “sometimes”. You can also discuss intuitive eating. That is, you eat when you are hungry (maybe your stomach feels “empty”) and until you are full.

  • Let your children help you in the kitchen. Involving children in food preparation gives you the opportunity to educate them about food groups and what goes into meals. You can talk about vitamins in foods and their benefits, for example, “Green food helps our heart”.

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