'Why would a parent want to do that?' - Psychologists react to Khloe Kardashian's video filter over baby True
Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian shared her first video of her one-month-old daughter True on Instgram this weekend.
The video, which has so far garnered over 23 million views, was posted to celebrate True’s four-week milestone.
The baby is seen gazing up into the camera, and a light appears to shine on her face, while a playful filter of a flower and butterflies float around her head.
Khloe’s supportive fan base were quick to congratulate the TV star and compliment her on her baby.
But as the debate around children and social media grows, Independent.ie questioned Irish professionals who work with children on the specific issue of altering babies and childrens' images.
Does a filter merely just another layer of fun to a baby’s image? Or is it something that simply shouldn’t be done? And something that shouldn’t be normalised?
Carmel Jennings, a child care consultant at Caidreamh in Cork, suggests that Khloe’s filter over baby True’s image represents a “new dimension” in the social media domain.
Ms Jennings told Independent.ie: “It’s a difficult one to comprehend. I’m not sure what the reasoning behind it is. And that would be one of my questions.”
“It’s not something that I would expect parents or anyone to do of a beautiful and pure infant. I don’t know why we would put on filters or alter their image in any way. I figure it would be the next step for people, but I hope it’s not going to become the norm around the world.”
“There’s a new dimension in terms of it - altering the image of a baby.”
Dr Mairead Ní Eidhin, a clinical psychologist with Caidreamh says celebrities, who are trendsetters, have a responsibility to share real images, instead of computer generated images.
“I really wonder why a parent would want to do that to a baby’s image. Why any parent would want to change how a child or a baby looks, there are definitely questions to be asked around that.”
“I think she has a responsibility to say why she did this… there should be a conversation around it.”
Issues can arise when children who are constantly exposed to altered images grow up with a different sense of their reality, Dr NÍ Eidhin says.
“We usually develop our self-concept by the environment we’re exposed to, our parents and our teachers. If we’re constantly exposed to an altered environment, that sets us up to achieve the unachievable.”
“Then they grow into adolescence which is a very vulnerable period of development, and if they’re looking at computerised images of what is perfect, what coping mechanism might they have if they themselves don’t feel perfect.”
“I think how it’s managed is really, really important, it’s explaining to a child: 'this isn’t real, this is computer-generated'. At the moment, they’re looking at an image that isn’t realistic but they might not know it’s real. Children under 7 can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality, for example.”
Ms Jennings added that it’s vital for people to be cognisant of the fact that marketing tools, such as filters, are simply that. Marketing tools.
“She has a following worldwide, [the image is] already out there to a very, very large audience, and how they will interpret it is unknown. It’s unclear what her thinking is.”
“I don’t know what the thinking or feedback is, because this is a new element that we haven’t seen before.”
She added: “I don’t think it’s a healthy way for us to move in terms of using filters or altering images of infants and children, and I don’t think it’s helpful, for a society in general.”