Friday 21 May 2021

Stock Photos and Hills to Die On.

To start with I'm very happy to see the upward number of professionals, practitioners and organisations that are raising the profile of children's violence to their parents and carers. That's good but I fear my inner pedant is struggling. It's perhaps petty or pick but I just feel really uncomfortable with the use of stock photos of angry children to illustrate or advertise some training or event. 

Yes, that really is the hill I'm prepared to die on. 

It's been winding me up for years! I've privately messaged organisation and laid out my rationale. The pictures of 'angry' teenagers or angry 'cute' kids are just not helpful. They place the issue squarely on children's shoulders and reinforce the lazy notions that many families fight to break through with professionals, family, friends and everyone they go to for help. Everyone I've contacted has got it and amended the publicity to show a broken window or some such neutral image than indicates violence rather than pinning the issue on some lazy image of a child. 

Does it matter? I'd say yes it really does. 

We need to constantly focus the message on the complexity of this issue and I've never spoken to family where the child was 'just' angry. There is always a complex interplay of experience, biology and systems that are unique and specific to that family. Of course there are themes and I'm not going to rehash that here but certainly to pin this on the chest of 'angry' kids is just not good enough. There's plenty of other images that can be used and I'm sure that I'm not the only person that feels this discomfort. 

The 'angry' child picture misses the mark, children are often acting out overwhelming anxiety, distress, frustration, rage, fear and anger. Frankly the kids in these pictures aren't even close. 

I don't want to point fingers or call people out, I just want us to demonstrate that we really get this, especially if you're going got be training people. Anyway, in the grand scheme of things it may be a little hill to die on but I genuinely believe that this stuff matters. 

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