It may seem silly, but some researches have found that selfies or photographs of one’s face can affect self-esteem and even trigger a mental disorder. So, with this idea, it’s easy to assume that selfies can affect your health. But is it honestly that much?
Thanks to all the photo editing technology that exists today, you can make a selfie look almost perfect, although, in reality, it is not like that. The original photo that given a lot of retouch by you will end up sharing with your loved ones. But that you tweak an image to make it look perfect and get a lot of ‘likes’ will not really make you feel better about yourself.
The level of physical “perfection” that was previously only seen in beauty magazines is now found in social networks. As these images become the norm, it is causing people’s perceptions of beauty to change and may even trigger a body dysmorphic disorder.
What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
This disorder is characterised by an excessive preoccupation with a perceived defect in appearance, often described by people arriving at large and often unhealthy occasions to hide those ‘imperfections’ they perceive. This may include engaging in repetitive behaviours such as excessive skin treatment and visiting dermatologists or plastic surgeons, hoping to change their appearance.
Validation through the Internet!
Some studies show that adolescents who manipulate their photos are more concerned about their body appearance, and people with a dysmorphic body image seek social networks as a means of validation. If they have few likes their self-esteem is undermined, and if they have many likes, they feel better, but they are not happy.
Plastic Surgery for Selfies!
A new phenomenon called ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ has appeared where patients seek surgery to help them appear as the leaked versions of themselves. That is, they want to look like the images that appear in their cameras of themselves when applying the corresponding filters.
The Contact with Reality is Being Lost!
Filtered selfies can cause people to lose touch with reality, creating an expectation of what they are supposed to be. They think that they must be perfect and well-groomed all the time and that if they are not, they are not fit or worthy to live in the society or to be with other people.
This can be especially harmful to adolescents and those with BDD, and it is essential that providers understand the implications of social networks on body image to treat and advise people better.
It is important that people become aware that the beauty canon is merely a thought and that it is not and should not be something real. Beauty is relative but what makes a person happy is to feel beautiful inside, to feel loved by himself before others. If you look and feel good inside, others will see you well on the outside.
Undergoing plastic surgery does not help, it can even worsen any underlying TDC. Instead, experts recommend psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
It may be time to rethink the selfies that you do and the filters that you put on them … What is the end of the selfies that you take each day? Do you add filters to the images taken? Why do you do it? If you have children, think about how you can reduce their unnecessary exposure to social networks.