Last week Instagram announced that they are removing all augmented reality filters that depict/promote cosmetic surgery. With social media having a major influence on young people’s mental health, this is a great move for body positivity.
As a young woman who is susceptible to what is portrayed in the media, social applications such as Instagram have a big influence on my life. I have to admit I am probably a little bit addicted to my phone and the apps I use the most are Instagram and Facebook. Images of the ‘perfect life’ are all over an individual’s Instagram and with filters that alter the way you look, a ‘real’ ‘unfiltered’ image is sometimes impossible to find.
The major thing we all need to remember about social media is that everyone posts their best moments enjoying the highs of life. As I am about to turn the big 30, the rise of engagements on my feed sometimes affect me and make me wonder why I’m not experiencing that yet. However, there is starting to be a rise in #instavsreality, #nofilter and our very own #mediocremonday campaign. Which dispel the myth that everything is perfect.
Instagram can sometimes affect me if I am having a bad day but I’m conscious when I am looking at it that it is not ‘real’. However, a vulnerable young person who might be struggling with their mental health could be extremely affected by it and critique the way they look because of the images they are scrolling through.
Young people are going to plastic surgeons with photos that use filters and asking if for surgery to look like the photo. Which is shocking. These features are not achievable. It is scary to think that young people believe they have to look like this to fit in. It can be detrimental to their mental health and self image.
This move by Instagram follows their new restrictions that will limit and in some cases ban certain diet/weight-loss products and cosmetic surgery advertisements. Other posts that contain these products/services will only be shown to over 18s. These measures are part of Instagram’s new strategy to lessen the damaging mental health issues that can be caused by this unrealistic view of beauty.
I think this is a great new strategy from the platform but there is still a long way to go. Though this is a step in the right direction to raise awareness of the effect of social media on young people.
One of my favourites is Chessie King who in her bio describes herself as ‘breaking up your perfect feed.’ She has glamorous shots but fills her feed with honest photos of herself. She says it makes her feel ‘liberated’ and can help others deal with their body confidence problems. She is also very open about her anxiety and absolutely hilarious. I love reading her posts and watching her stories.
Don’t get me wrong there are glamorous selfies on my feed but as I’m a runner there are also post-run, action shots and no-makeup photos of me. They show me enjoying my life and are not edited #filterfree
As well as celebrities, my feed is full of cooking accounts as I love new ideas for recipes. As well as theatres so I can get all the latest news about productions.
Every couple of months it’s good to take the time away from your phone and live in the moment. When I am on holiday/watching something on television I make the conscious effort to stop scrolling and it is incredibly good for your mental health. I also stop getting FOMO (fear of missing out), social media is designed to be addictive and you can experience withdrawals.
Always remember when you are scrolling through your feed/stories that these are everyone’s best moments. People want to share that they’re having a good time. There are not a lot of people who put their mundane moments on social media. Never compare yourself to anyone else. You are on your own journey!