Heyyyy everyone, you’re in for a treat because I have A LOT to say today. Last night as I was browsing through my newsfeed on Facebook, the literal most horrific photos of young children (approx. 4-9) were flooding my feed. These so called “edgy” and “artistic” photos featured young kids drenched in blood in settings like dark forests, cemeteries, and open graves. The pictures were from an apparently popular photographer whose name I don’t care to know and whose photos I refuse to share. As I looked through the albums posted I grew more nauseated by the second to the point that I had to X out of the page altogether. Now I’m all for anything horror – I love the dark and macabre. BUT these photos are child abuse, despite the insistent comments against such accusations from fans of the photographer. Allow me to explain why from a psychological stand point:
Alright, here we go…Children of such a young and tender age absorb everything like a sponge. Everyone knows that, parent or not. Children also can become extremely fixated on characters, behaviors, or phrases. Think of a child totally obsessed with dinosaurs. The kid might display his interest through his or her clothing, books, television shows, or the way they play. So what happens when a child is exposed to violence? A very possible reality that the kid could become very fixated on violent behaviors, films, and speech. With a newly developed interest in violence the child might have a hard time distinguishing the situation of the photographs being taken from reality. A warped view of real life can lead to nightmares, night terrors, and withdrawn and problematic behaviors. Need I go on? Yes, I do because….
The findings of the most famous psychological study on “parroting” behavior that children display serves as the perfect explanation as to why these photos are dangerous. Imagine: Happy preschool aged children are in a room playing. This room has a two way mirror, where they can see an adult ambling around another playroom. There are a lot of great toys on the ground, but what catches the adult’s eye is an inflatable Bozo doll. Uninterested in children’s toys, the adult chooses to attack the doll, with punches and kicks. One adult even uses a toy hammer to hit the inflatable. The adult leaves, and the children are now allowed to explore an exciting new playroom. What does each child do? Instead of playing with blocks and cars, every child opts to mimic the adult by attacking the Bozo doll. Talk about monkey see monkey do.
The moral of the study? That children will mimic just about anything, ESPECIALLY when an adult is encouraging or showcasing the behaviors. So how does this tie in to the blood bath photos I witnessed in my newsfeed last night? Well, let’s see. A parent or guardian obviously thinks that the photos will be “cool” so they are already encouraging the violence each picture implies. The photographer could very well be showing the child how to pose or act, thus showcasing the behaviors. What does this create for the child? A how to guide on how to be violent or at the very least desensitizing them to such brutal imagery and situations.
As I mentioned previously, so many of the comments on the photos can be seen saying that these pictures are not abusive. But from a psychological stand point, it is quite the contrary. No, the parents are not physically or sexually hurting the child. BUT they are setting the little ones up for very possible future issues, which is just as bad. Lil Red Pro Tip: Photograph your child playing in the leaves rather than cowering over someone’s burial site with blood soaking their mouth and torso. *Drops mic*.
PSA: Mental health is more important than an edgy photo!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alright guys, I really had to get that rant off my chest because those pictures really disturbed me. Have you guys seen the pictures I’m talking about? How do you feel about the issue? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah