(photo: Tim Gouw)
Envy has always existed. I remember even lunch boxes had an entire social rating system all their own. I grew up in NYC and attended public school. And I remember being most envious of the kids with the highest grades, and the best singing voice. These days, even our youngest grade school kids are taught early on to care about how they look and are perceived by others thanks to a little thing known as the Internet.
Five-year-old Betsy loves to have her picture taken. But what she loves best is her mom reading to her the reactions from others to her latest outfit and pose.
"It's something we have fun with," explains her mom. "The people that comment are friends."
Seven-year-old May counts up the likes her picture has generated as soon as her mom picks her up at school. "200 is my highest number. But that was my birthday pic."
Off the record, many moms admitted to me the struggle in keeping up with the latest kids fashions and having each picture they take "post-able." "You have some moms and even dads who buy their kids only the most expensive brands like Burberry and Ralph Lauren...and those pictures generate the most likes."
How are these gorgeous pictures taken so perfectly before school even begins? The answer is that many of these mini-fashionistas have their images caught on other days. Some have been styled and photographed professionally. What was once services for just models and actors, is now open to anyone who can pay the often exorbitant prices.
(via Ralph Lauren)
These services start at a few hundred and can go up to $800 plus. What do you get for this? Perfectly posed, dressed and sharp looking photos to be envied by all of cyberspace. So are we doomed as a society when even our youngest members are caring about mass approval ratings? When children as young as three years old pucker up their lips and take selfies? Or is this just harmless fun equal to watching mindless Saturday Cartoons together?
We now have the first generation who has never known life without a cell phone. Is this advancing us or adding to our superficialness? Only the future will tell. In the meantime, mix it up a bit and have them play outside, a candid photo of pure joy will score high in smile ratings!
(photo: Adele D'Man)