I’m usually a barely there kind of girl when it comes to make up. I like to wear enough to cover the dark circles that might give away my sleepless nights.
So, when I first wore cherry red lipstick, my four-year-old son was shocked.
“Mummy!” he exclaimed. “What is on your face?”
I hadn’t prepared an answer in my head, so I said the first thing I thought of. “Oh, it’s paint.”
“Mummy. That’s very naughty. We don’t put paint on our faces.” He wouldn’t let me kiss him, lest he also got paint on his face.
Since then, he’s become quite interested in my make up routine. But I am deeply unsure of what I will say when he gets around to asking me why I slap concealer under my eyes and pink rouge on my cheeks.
How will I explain to him, and eventually to my daughter that not even mummy feels strong enough in her appearance to let the world see her naked face?
While this video is now almost 10 years old, it’s still a great example of how our perceptions of beauty have become so distorted. Post continues below…
This terrifies me, because sooner or later, I will not only have to answer that question, but I will have to find a way to help my children feel sure enough of themselves in their own skin that they can be who they are in the world.
Sadly, it seems that we’ll have to have the conversation very early, because, a new study has revealed that children as young as eight are photoshopping images of themselves before sharing them on social media.
The study, conducted by online security company AVG Technologies, found that 41% of children aged 8-13 feel pressure to look ‘good’ in their social media profiles and that 11% are digitally altering their photos before posting.
In a statement, Michael McKinnon, AVG’s Security Awareness Director, said: “The digital world holds a host of opportunities and excitement for our children but it is important for teens to understand that what they see online or in the movies isn’t always real.”
“Image honesty is being trammelled not only by Hollywood’s unrealistic beauty standards but being brought very close to home with an example from earlier this year of a school digitally altering student photos to remove piercings and blemishes."
“With kids experiencing such strong social pressure to always look perfect, we parents need to be very aware of the influences on our children. If kids don’t learn to accept pimples or braces when they’re very young, how will they ever be able to handle wrinkles and the other larger disappointing realities of life?” McKinnon asked.
The main reasons children give for altering their photos are to make the pictures more fun and wanting to look good.
Of the children who didn't alter their photos, a third of those said they were comfortable with how they look.
How do you help your kids avoid the pressure to look good?