Posted on 5th April 2022
Social media, filters and selfie-editing apps are contribiting to a crisis in low self-esteem, disturbed self-image and body dysmorphia.
What is Digital Distortion?
When someone uses an app or a filter to change their appearance online. Often 'beauty filters' slim, add makeup and airbrush. These filters are common on nearly all social media platforms and there are plenty of apps which can be downloaded for free. Now, even smartphone inbuilt camera's allow you to do this.
By age 13, 85% of girls in the UK distort the way they look online*
Studies show that social media significantly influences plastic surgery trends, and people are bringing in photos of their filtered selves as their inspiration pictures - InStyle
Effects can also include:
Highlight & cause insecurities
Heighten symptoms of depression and anxiety
Alter self-image and self-esteem
Prompt eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and body dysmorphia
Self-esteem is an individual's subjective evaluation of their own worth.
Using filters and editing apps may cause us to focus more on aspects about ourselves that we don't like, which can lead to lower self-esteem. In a new study, 90% of young women reported using filters or editing their photos to appear as if they had whiter teeth, weighed less, had a different nose, or other physical changes.**
"Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others. People of any age can have BDD, but it's most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women" - NHS
Whilst we can't change social media platform features or how others use technology, we can become aware of our own use and what we put into the world.
Raising awareness around the issue is important, just as Dove have showcased with their latest campaign - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2T-Rh838GA
We can also educate children and young people around online safety, the dangers of grooming and we can avoid 'beautification' filters on our own selfies.
You can also click to view our free taster Strive resource on Self-esteem and Confidence.
*85% of 509 girls aged 13-17 who use social media in the UK agreed they download a filter or use an app to change the way they look
**University of London's Gender and Sexualities Research Centre
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Tagged as: acceptance, body dysmorphia, body image, confidence, Digital distortion, mental health, self esteem, selfie, social media
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