How does digital technology impact ones self-esteem? We see numerous stories of teenagers using text messaging and online video services to humiliate and bully one another. Is this any different that what the youth have been doing to one another over the years....or just different tools and methods?
What about what we are faced with everyday in the media? Are these unrealistic goals for the youth to try and attain?
Are we as consumers aware of the realities of digital enhancements?
With access to advanced graphic and movie editing programs on home computers....the "every day person" is now learning the tricks that have been used for years in advertising. But does this make a difference in how we view ourselves? I even joke with people when the camera comes out and say "I want the original to Photoshop if it isn't my best side."
In the same breath....technology is being used to send out a positive message. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty "is a global effort that is intended to serve as a starting point for societal change and act as a catalyst for widening the definition and discussion of beauty."
In 2004 Dove started to address the issues that women today of all ages were dealing with. In 2004 Dove unveiled a study interviewing thousands of women from 10 different countries and found that only 2% considered themselves beautiful.
The Dove Self-Esteem Fund (Australasia, North America )
"True You" [PDF] - an activity guide from Dove for girls and their mentors.
Section for Educators....ideas on what can be done to help girls with their self-esteem.
The Making of Dove Evolution....Behind the Scenes
I had to include this amazing animation that celebrates 500 years of female portraits in the West....
Self-Esteem Activities....some ideas.
What I decided to do in my multimedia class was take the idea of self-esteem and use the tools that the industry has used to deceive us with....turn the it around and use them as tools of expression for the students.....teach them how to use these tools as a "self-voice."
1. I always encouraged students to use photographs of themselves within their work...whether it was an outline or an image of themselves hidden within the finished work. I found with many teenagers it sometimes was a struggle to encourage them to include an image of themselves....no matter how transparent. Some would hide their photo so well in their assignment it was almost like looking for "Waldo" to find it. The use of their "own" images made their assignments much more meaningful to them than using someone that they had no connection to....their work had much more depth and the students felt more connected to the assignment.
2. Senior multimedia students - they worked with photographs of themselves and brought them into Photoshop, altering the photograph to reflect how they felt/thought the rest of the world saw them. They also had to include 5 words they felt described who they were as part of the design. This assignment gave me a real insight into my students....I found that male or female...they worried about a lot of the same things. Those students that appeared confident and self-assured weren't always.
3. Another assignment I have done with my students was to have them choose an animal that they felt matched their personality. Taking a portrait photograph of themselves and finding a portrait photograph of that animal....they had to merge the two together.....splitting the two images in half and then blending them together using the tools found in Photoshop. The idea was to use various tools from masking to blending so the final image looked as one. Again, the selection of the animal was always fascinating.
4. This topic can be explored through various film advertisements, posters, comic books (using Comic Book Creator) news reports, etc... that the students can plan and develop.
Good or bad....it is still human nature that controls the outcomes of most of our technology.....what can or do you do in your class/program to promote self-esteem through the use of technology?