The Deer Valley Unified School District has sent out the following email to parents in the District regarding a Facebook "modeling" contest for prizes:
"COLLEGE & CAREER FAIR: Calling all High School Students. Are you DVUSD'S Next Top Model! Submit a photo in your best business outfit to email@example.com by January 10, 2014! All photos will be posted on DVUSD Facebook. The 12 students with the most LIKES will win a spot in the College & Career Fair Fashion Show on February 4th at District Office from 4-6 p.m. WIN a laptop, iPad, gift cards and more prizes."
Many parents are upset about the emphasis this type of contest puts on looks, calling it a popularity vote. As stated in the email, students who win, will be the ones with the most "likes" on the District Facebook page by their picture. Although the contest is meant to promote business attire, many don't like the format and say it is nothing less than a popularity contest. The fact that the contest is being publicized as a "college and career" event, is also troubling to some.
Psychologists agree, this type of voting can lead to a decrease in self-esteem, when done in such a public manner among peers. Public forums and voting results, based on how a student looks, are very highly discouraged by child development specialists as well.
This contest comes at a time where on-line bullying is at the forefront of societal norms. Many parents are very concerned that this type of contest perpetuates the emphasis of our culture's "looks over brains" thinking, and may lead to lowering students' self-esteem.