Social media photo filters lead to body issues among young people

Local News

Many of us use social media and take photos of filtered versions of ourselves. But a new phenomenon is influencing young people and the way they think about their self-image.

It’s called “Snapchat Dysmorphia” and some people are even going under the knife to have plastic surgery and change the way they look.

Experts say a quick touch-up could have negative effects on a person’s self-esteem. 

“Self-esteem wise, it sometimes might ruin it a bit or boost it a lot. It usually gives you the fake image. Never truly yourself,” said Laneli Patino.

Patino is a college student who was spending time with her family at World’s Fair Park on Thursday. 

Patino communicates with many of her friends through social media. Through the years, she’s seen how it has become an unhealthy obsession that changes the way you look. 

“Some make your eyes change, some make you look lighter skin, clear skin and then other ones really deform your face sometimes too,” said Patino. 

Kristen Bradley with Helen Ross McNabb Center says the pressure of what other people think is influencing children and teenagers. 

“They are expected to pose a certain way and to display a certain lifestyle on social media. Adding that on top of what they’re already dealing with developmentally, it compacts that stress,” said Bradley, a prevention and early intervention service coordinator at the center.

Bradley says having a skewed image from social media can even lead to depression, eating disorders and the desire to have surgery. 

“Those questions will start being asked of parents. Can I get a nose job or can I get my ears tucked back?” said Bradley. “It actually puts their thoughts more on their body image. They’re more conscious about it. They’re thinking about it more often because they’re thinking about their next post or their next picture and what that’s going to look like.”

Encouraging your children to appreciate their bodies is the best advice for parents.

“Having a conversation with your kids when they are exposed to social media, then they start having that access. Help them understand that that’s not real,” said Bradley. 

“I think it’s better to accept who you are because you can’t really change yourself in other people’s eyes. You’ve got to love yourself and who you are,” Patino adds.

Experts suggest that if you’re suffering from low self-esteem or body image issues, you should reach out to someone for help. 

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