The danger of airbrushing. Start talking to your kids before the beauty industry does !
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I was invited to talk on Sky News and Channel 5 News about the wonderful new pack for parents that will help you to talk and teach your kids about the dangers of airbrushing as well as helping you to think about the influence of the media on their self esteem and body confidence from Media Smart.
The parent pack has been developed to align with the Government’s campaign on Body Confidence. This fab campaign looks at the portrayal of people in the media – including the preference for the use of certain body types and its impact on young girls and boys.
I’ve written many times on the power of the media to influence kids as I’m passionate about helping to raise happy, confident kids – and as we all know confidence, self esteem and body confidence all starts on the inside – and as you are your child’s first and most important role model watch how you talk about your body, your weight and your imperfections as your kids are learning from you , listening to you and watching you all the time.
But kids today are bombarded by advertising and celebrities who appear slim, without spots and free from laughter lines or wrinkles and of course our kids often aspire to look like them so we need as parents to ‘talk & teach’ them about the ‘tricks of the trade’ and airbrushing and manipulation.
Advertising is a multi-million pound business and our kids are surrounded by adverts all the time on websites, on TV, on billboards, in magazines as well as in films as product placements, on buses, buildings, and scoreboards. The power of a celebrity endorsement is very potent to young people. Just think of Cheryl Cole’s pulling power!
Kids are an important part of the marketplace and they often are the targets of advertising and marketing programmes. The result is that kids see ads wherever they go.
So have you ever talked with your kids about the way marketing affects them and the way companies are manipulating them?
It could be a good lesson to teach them helping them become more discerning consumers of information and able to see beyond the marketing messages.
Many ads target kids ages 8 to 12. Do your kids have the critical thinking skills to understand ads, what they’re saying, and what they want your kids to do and how they think they should look?
Here are some key “critical thinking” questions when they encounter advertising to get you started:
- Who is responsible for the ad?
- What is the ad actually saying?
- What does the ad want you to buy, do, or think?
- What’s the underlying message about your body, your looks and how slim you should look to be happy, successful or famous?
Aimed at 10-12 year olds the Body Image Parent Pack aims to help promote positive self-esteem among children, by encouraging parents and children to think critically about the images they see in the media and understand that they are aspirational and not necessarily achievable. This wonderfully easy to read guide gets you chatting naturally about airbrusing and the often false enhancement of people in adverts and in the media.
How about starting by talking about Kiera Knightley’s airbrushed photo with her enhanced boobs & enhanced tan for a USA audience ?