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The filters used to alter photos and videos on social media may seem like fun, but there is a serious issue with what they may be doing to our mental health. The Doctors discuss “Snapchat dysmorphia”, a negative side effect of these filters that may promote fake self-images and make users dissatisfied with how they look in real life.
Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra shares that a lot of the filters have come under criticism for promoting the western ideal of beauty – lighter skin, wider eyes, specific nose and jaw lines. Psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli shares that these filters give people unrealistic expectations and unfortunately, it’s starting at a very young age. He says that all studies on social media point to an increase in anxiety, depression and a decrease of self-esteem, and the onset is only 12 years old.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon and Dr. Batra both say that in their practices they see patients coming in using these modified and filtered social media images to show them what they want. Dr. Batra shares a study that over 50% of people now seeking cosmetic surgery are seeking it based on how they look in selfies or social media.
Ultimate Performance Specialist Dr. Joseph McClendon III says that it becomes addictive if you have that type of dysmorphia. Dr. Sportelli adds getting "likes" on those filtered photos is going to make people want to do it more. And if they don't get a lot of "likes", Dr. McClendon adds, they're going to spend their time adjusting it.
Dr. McClendon has three questions to ask yourself before you post a selfie:
#1: Am I posting this image because I want people to make me feel better about how I look?
#2: Am I showing the real me?
#3: Am I posting this image of myself because I’m feeling anxious or depressed?
If any of the answers to these questions don’t make you feel good, don’t post that photo!
Dr. McClendon adds, “Half the time when people are doing that, adjusting themselves, they’re not looking inside and appreciating themselves. That’s what we need to start teaching.”