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Fatima looked at her phone with dismay. “Where have all these pictures come from?”
She scrolled down the Instagram feed at photo after photo. All of them were tagged with #ManchesterfordHSselfie.
Jamie looked over her shoulder. “What do you mean? They look like perfectly normal selfies to me.”
“Are you serious? They’re all fake! Look at this one. You can tell she’s edited that pic. Her eyes are completely out of proportion with the rest of her.”
Jamie peered at the photo. “Yeah, I suppose she does look a bit like an alien emoji.”
“And these ones!” Fatima scrolled down further. “I don’t recognise any of these people. Who are they? How did they know about the competition?”
“I don’t know, but look at this one.” Jamie pointed to the background of a selfie that showed a glamorous woman who was clearly too old to be at secondary school. “That’s Russian writing, isn’t it?”
“I don’t believe this!” cried Fatima. “Who’s been colluding with the Russians?” She threw the phone down on the table in disgust. “Unbelievable! The competition’s ruined!”
A week earlier, Fatima and Jamie had set up a competition to find Manchesterford High School’s best selfie taker. The only rules were that the photos had to be decent and natural. No filters, no editing, no stickers. Just the selfie. They wanted to make people aware of how many images are photoshopped and to celebrate how awesome everyone looks naturally.
Fatima picked up her phone again and scrolled through the tagged images. She could see there were some genuine photos among the edited ones and those from the fake Manchesterford students.
“It’s not fair,” she said to Jamie, “there are some great genuine photos here. How are we going to encourage people to enter the competition when there are fakes and phoneys all over the place?”
“What can we do?”
“Well, we can delete all these fake ones for a start.” Fatima started tapping on photos, looking for the delete button.
“Wait!” shouted Jamie. “What if you delete genuine ones? Let’s wait until the end of the competition, then download them all. We can check the data on each picture and get rid of the ones that aren’t from Manchesterford. Then we can have a little chat with the ones we think have edited their selfies…”
- Do you agree with what Jamie and Fatima decided to do? Why? Why not?
- How would you have dealt with the problem of the phoney photos?
- How do you feel when people spoil something you’ve done with lies or fake news?
- What kind of punishment should be dealt out to those who spoil things in this way?
This story is based on Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43. Read these passages to the group and compare Jesus’ story with this one. Discuss what Jesus might have been saying through his parable, encouraging the group to think about it in a new way
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