For the most part, we all begin as happy kids. We love to swing on monkey bars, play tag, and run in circles like little puppies chasing our tails. We don't notice or care if we are wearing gucci shoes, or hand me downs from a charity bin. That's pretty awesome if you ask me. But at some point, we lose that innocence, and all hell breaks loose. Self identity and comparative analysis infects our mind like a virus. They say we have a lot to learn from children. For they know how to be happy. The older we get, the more we lose their precious insight on life. I believe it. But inevitably, we all grow old.
Above: A young Jeff Schear, just happy to be alive, no insecurity whatsoever.
I remember the first time I had an insecure thought about my body. It was in 3rd grade, I was wearing jeans, and I looked down at my thighs, spread against my little red school chair. Immediately I felt bad, really really bad. As cliche as it sounds, I thought they looked fat. In fact, I remember trying to cover my thighs, by pulling my t-shirt over them. It's as if there was this click in my mind and the entire classroom could hear the sound of my brain making the connection. It sounds insane doesn't it? As a kid I was active everyday, I wasn't overweight, but the perception of my thighs led into my first negative thoughts about my body. INSECURITY had reared its ugly head.
Mine is a shallow story, probably borderline offensive to most. How dare I talk about such a small perception, when there are so many more serious things to be insecure about as a child? However, my point is at what age do kids think, hey I don't like how I look, etc? When does a kid feel the first heart pangs of insecurity? And is access to digital photography making this happen faster?
Back then, during my own experience, in the earlier part of the 90's, we still used film. All we had were school pictures and photos our parents snapped of us. Sure there were mirrors, but nothing permanent to capture our worst fears and insecurities, as often and conveniently as kids can today. Now they have access to digital cameras on phones, point and shoots, even handheld gaming devices with a camera. Is this making children develop insecurities faster than ever in the course of human history? Combine that with social networking and it's like an insecurity cocktail of epic proportions. Is this where the onslaught of cyber bullying is coming from?
Honestly, I have no idea. I'm not qualified to speak on the matter, nor am I a psychologist/psychiatrist/social worker/nutritionist. What I can speak of, however, is what cameras do. It would blow your mind, if you knew how many people despise having their photo taken. I've had people walk up to me after being in the background of a picture and demand to delete it. I've had people dressed in $5,000 gowns refuse a photo because they hate every picture ever taken of them. Cameras are like mirrors, the only difference is when you hate how you look in the mirror, it doesn't capture that perception forever. A camera does.
So I guess the main question lingers. Are digital cameras making kids more insecure at a younger age than ever? Or am I just babbling on?