There is an alarming trend happening today with snapchat filters that are becoming a social media phenomenon, but could they be damaging to your mental health? There are claims that these popular photo filters promote fake self-images and make user dissatisfied with how they look in real life. This is being called “Snapchat Dysmorphia.” These filters can smooth, brighten, and virtually change your skin, eye shape and color, nose, cheeks and jawline. These filters are mainly being used by young adolescents to young adults and these filters are setting them up for unrealistic expectation.
When they feel like they can’t live, post or take photos without filters, they then become recluse and it becomes dysmorphic when they obsess about it.
The underlying issues is that these filtered photos are beginning to make people not like themselves, they start to not like the real person they are underneath the filter. Which can cause impermanent function, people will start to spend hours and hours getting ready. They will become recluse and not leave their home. These filters are planting a seed in people to fit these unrealistic images. Just like when they see an image of a very thin women in a magazine and try all types of unhealthy diets to be as thin as these women. It is setting them up for an extremely unrealistic expectations, that they will not be able to meet.
Studies have shown that these filters are causing an increase in anxiety, depression and decrease in self-esteem. This can be really bad because a lot of users are as young 12 years old and around this age is when these teens start to transition into young adults and develop self-image. This can be damaging to them in the future to have unrealistic expectations.
Plastic surgeons are sounding the alarm on this disturbing trend, they are saying they have patients coming to their office with a filter selfie, seeking for the doctor to make them resemble the way they look in the photo. There was a study that showed about 50% of people seeking cosmetic surgery now are seeking them based on how they look in selfies and on social media.
One of the worst parts about this “Snapchat Dysmorphia” is that it can become addictive as well. Because people can edit out or change one thing, they don’t like about themselves, can lead them to change another and another and not looking anything like themselves. Many people who have this that type of dysmorphia can also have an additive personality.
Another way edited selfies are becoming additive to people is when they post a filtered picture of themselves on social media and get all the likes from others. It becomes extremely additive, causing people take more filter photos. But if they don’t get the amount of likes they want, they are going to adjust the image until they happy and receives likes from others.
In a statement, Snapchat said its filters were designed as a fun way to help lower the barrier to self-expression and storytelling on the app.
We should keep in mind there are some users who use these filters for fun and that’s a good thing. The concern, of course, is when someone who has a problem with self-image and young adolescence who are just starting to develop a self-image, begin to use filters and want to fit these unrealistic expectations. We want people to know, especially teens, that they are who they are and they should be comfortable with that – and while there are certain things we can fix, some of the things that technology can fix in an image aren’t a realistic thing. We need to help people love and embrace who they are and how they look.
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