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Filters vs. reality

if you use social media apps such as Instagram and Tiktok, you’ve probably played around or experimented with filters. They’re fun to use, especially those that make you look like your favourite Disney character or enhance your “sunset view” post. But using filters on social media can also help us feel attractive and visible, and it’s easy to feel insecure, especially when so much of the content we consume is filtered and photoshopped. It’s hard not to focus on your flaws when everyone else looks picture-perfect, which alters our expectations for ourselves, causing more harm than good.Often, filters on social apps highlight European features, such as lighter eyes or a smaller nose. Some procedures reshape the entire face by smoothing out every pore, regrowing facial hair, shortening hair and enhancing the jawline, and others boost body contours. Every new app we download seems to have yet another filter that changes our appearance entirely. But where do we draw the line? In the era of social distancing, people spent a lot of time in front of a laptop or cellphone screen and lost sight of former simple pleasures, such as travelling and going to a bar. As a result of being forced to live in virtual reality, we stared at our faces more than ever before, evaluating them constantly. Researchers have found that filters can lower self-esteem and distort body image. When snapping a filtered selfie, we hide our authentic selves. But a filtered selfie doesn’t reflect how we really look. The pressure to look “perfect” through the guise of a filter can cause depression and eating disorders and even prompt suicidal thoughts, especially among teenagers.

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Is there a way to solve this problem? It probably won’t be an overnight fix, but we need to reinforce that not everything you see online is real. Developing a culture of real-world existence is imperative, rather than spending an unhealthy amount of time in front of our cellular devices or laptop screens. Considering the cyber age we live in, that’s an ambitious statement. But give it a try.



• Be selective about who you follow on social media. Unfollow any accounts that make you feel negative.

• Reduce or limit your online time in favour of switching off and focusing your attention elsewhere.

• Practise self-compassion and self-love and prioritise your mental health.

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