Many parents say they're horrified by an option that photographers are now offering to Hudson Valley students.

School picture day is a right of passage. I remember practicing my smile in the mirror for days to make sure that the photo came out just right. After getting a fresh haircut and squeezing into an uncomfortable sweater I'd anxiously wait for weeks to see how it came out. Only after paying for an 8x10, a selection of 5x7s, and a stack of wallet-sized photos would I discover that my eyes were closed and I had a booger hanging out of my nose.

Today, picture day isn't quite as stressful as it once was. Because everyone is walking around with a professional-grade camera in their pockets at all times we have thousands of pictures of our children accessible at all times. it's taken some of the stress out of picture day, but the event can still be harrowing especially since that yearbook photo will be the historical account all of your classmates will have of you until the end of time.


Controversial School Photo Practice

Some parents say they're outraged by an option being offered by their schools for children as young as first grade. Photographers are now allowing parents to check a box and have their child's picture professionally retouched. Some schools offer several levels of retouching ranging from smoothing out blemishes to whitening teeth and removing acne. One parent even says that their child's missing tooth was digitally replaced after adding on the retouching option.

Parents Say It's Shameful

Parents we talked to were aghast at the idea of retouching their child's photos. Clinton Newkirk says, "Photoshopping school pics takes away the fun of making fun of yourself when you were younger." Other parents argue that it sends a horrible message to the child.

Dan L. told us that the idea makes him "sick to (his) stomach." He echoed the thoughts of many other parents who worry that retouching the photos sends children the message that they're "not good enough."


The practice can be "dangerous"

Mental health experts say that photoshopping a child's school picture can have lasting effects. Child psychologist, Yamalis Diaz, told the New York Post that the practice can lead to a child feeling inadequate which can lead to anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health issues.

Hudson Valley parent, Lisa M. told us that she hoped parents would "spend time telling (their) child that they're perfect just the way they are" instead of sending the message that their physical flaws are something to be ashamed of.

We want to know what you think. is it OK to touch up a child's school portrait or not? You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page or send us a message on our app.

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