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What message is this school sending by Photoshopping students?

Acne, awkward hairstyles, the odd piercing and puppy fat — high school can be such a socially awkward time for teenagers, but what these school photographers are doing can only make it worse.

Imagine being a teenager. It’s the school photo day. You’ve brushed and styled your hair and made yourself as ready as ever for the class snap.

Me, I dyed my hair orange one year and wasn’t allowed to have my photo taken at all. But that’s not my point, my point is teenagers can be particularly vulnerable when it comes to appearance. Now, your fictitious teenage self receives the school photos, but guess what? Your photo has been altered. Goodbye, monobrow; see you later, zits; adios, red skin and blemishes.

Daylesford Secondary College has caused quite the outrage among both students and parents by Photoshopping their school photos. Yep, that’s right. When they look back on their photos of probably the most awkward stage of their lives, there’s going to be nothing but an airbrushed, aesthetically altered image staring back at them, instead of the pimply teenager they actually were.

Jackie Lipplegoes, a Daylesford Secondary College student who had her nose ring altered out of her high school image, said she was worried that the photo didn’t “show the real” her.

“We paid for a photo to show how we looked in 2015, but this isn’t how we look,” she said. “Our identities have been changed and it doesn’t make you feel too good at all.”

What kind of message does this send to young people?

In Australia, 28 per cent of male and 35 per cent of female children and young adults between the ages of 11 and 24 said they were dissatisfied with their appearance, according to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration in 2010.

Forty-one per cent of children are also reportedly concerned about the way they look. Given these statistics, it seems pretty safe to say that focusing on a teenager’s appearance and altering it is only going to make them feel less secure about their appearance. So instead of showing kids that they don’t look good enough or that their appearance isn’t suitable for the school by Photoshopping their photos, perhaps we should be wearing our teenage appearances like a badge of honour — pimples, piercings and all.

What do you think about school photos being Photoshopped? Share your thoughts or your own experiences in the comments section below.

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