We enable social media to make our kids feel ugly and worthless – COMMENTARY | Express commentary | Comment


As a father and social media expert and marketer in the aesthetics industry, I know it’s the right thing to do, and the UK should follow suit. Young people in particular consume hours of social media content each day, most of which they consider “real”. This has only increased during the deadlocks, with social lives taking place online and the line between reality and aesthetic fiction becoming dangerously blurred – or disappearing altogether.

While these filters claim to be fun; There is a danger for an influencer who gives himself a slimmer waist, perfect skin, a smaller nose or fuller lips.

A young impressionable audience began to expect the same from themselves in real life.

The fear is to pursue unrealistic beauty standards from cosmetic procedures to achieve a “real life filter” look. Most aesthetics professionals I know will refuse anyone who is too young or has new dysmorphia.

Advertising has long been criticized for its portrayal of heavily retouched images of perfectly toned models. I regularly remind my daughter that the ads have been airbrushed.

This is a more complicated message to get across when something is not considered an “announcement”. Social media influencer business models and images are built on supposed authenticity.

A 2017 study showed that people only recognized manipulated images 60 to 65% of the time, which means that many of us – especially young people – fall victim to misrepresentation of “normal” makes many feel that they must be uglier, bigger or in general. more imperfect than their peers and the influencers they admire.

This creates what some professionals call Snapchat dysmorphia, with many young people seeking surgery that makes them look more like their Snapchat filters.

And with almost no license required to perform cosmetic procedures like filler injections, many unethical vendors are willing to take on this business when a professional (often medically trained) won’t.

More than 70% of cosmetic surgeons said they saw patients who wanted to go under the knife to look better on camera. Many of them will have been motivated by the desire to look like their favorite influencer (airbrushed and filtered).

Besides hurting young audiences, it’s not good for the influencers themselves, whose sanity must suffer when their whole sense of validation – and their livelihood – is based on deception.

The “aesthetic arms race” hurts everyone, and it must be brought under control.

That doesn’t mean we should ban photoshop, filters, and airbrushing – it’s part of online culture, along with professional photography and visual communication.

What we need is honesty and transparency.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the companies that run these social media platforms, which could easily notify users when a post has been tampered with.

Unless we want the current youth body image crisis to worsen, we should at least tell them when they look at a digital mannequin.

Shaz Memon is the founder of the aesthetic digital marketing agency https://digimax.dental

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