Awesome: Kids Learning About Airbrushing In The Classroom

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Children spend untold hours of the day being confronted with advertisements, billboards, and magazine covers that feature their favorite media personalities. Whether they’re poring over images of Jennifer Aniston or Miley Cyrus, chances are they aren’t being confronted with an authentic depiction of said person thanks to airbrushing. And if you’re a little girl who dreams of growing up and looking like Carla Bruni, those doctored images can give you some pretty jacked up ideas about how to view your own body and appearance. That’s why primary schools in England are teaching kids as young as 10 years old how to recognize airbrushing, which is a classroom initiative I can totally get behind.

Daily Mail reports that a not-for-profit company called Media Smart has created a classroom package that teachers can easily download for free. The lesson plan contains 15 slides which include advertisements for Revlon, Calvin Klein, and Maybelline as well as pre- and post-airbrushed snaps of Keira Knightley, Carla Bruni, and Britney Spears. Kids are encouraged to spot the digital enhancements and smoothed over regions, which sounds to me like a much more fun and educational version of “I Spy.”

Children already have such an incredible snack for spotting differences in identical images, as a variety of kids games rely on children being able to distinguish subtle differences between similar pictures. This lesson plans seems like it has tapped into children’s innate eagerness to discern and crafted their curiosity into a very empowering tool.

Not everyone agrees with the innovation  or importance of this media trainnig however, as Nick Seaton  of the Campaign for Real Education says that these activities take time away from really matters like the three R’s. He told the publication:

‘This is silly political correctness and ministers should know better than this.

‘It takes time away from raising standards in important subjects such as reading, writing, maths, history and geography,’ he added.

All those subjects are of course important, but skimming a few minutes off of geography here and there to dedicate some time to understanding media images is too. Media is becoming only more powerful, and as children are exposed to more at younger ages, giving them the capability to understand their world is an effort worth investing in.