Self Image in the Digital Age: The Social Dilemma

Social media dysmorphia has reached epidemic proportions. The readily available filters and unrealistic beauty expectations that have plagued social media have begun affecting how people see themselves and can amplify body dysmorphic disorder...

Digital Health

Social media dysmorphia has reached epidemic proportions. The readily available filters and unrealistic beauty expectations that have plagued social media have begun affecting how people see themselves and can amplify body dysmorphic disorder. Social media dysphoria (or as some call it, Snapchat Dysphoria) is a new phenomenon that was created through the use of AR face filters on different social platforms. These filters were designed to make users look like their “Best selves”; meaning smaller chin, bigger eyes, bigger lips, smaller nose, baby smooth skin, etc. The use of these filters may have started out innocent, like adding puppy dog ears to your selfie or making you puke rainbows when you open your mouth. However, they have evolved into a very damaging and unrealistic image of yourself.

Not only do face filters affect self-image, but also the constant feed of perfectly edited and filtered posts on your timeline. These photos have been selected from dozens of almost identical ones, then choosing the one with the best lighting, and then editing it. As beautiful as the pictures on social media appear, they’re not real. This doesn’t stop people from comparing themselves to an impossibly perfect bikini picture their favourite influencer posted. The new Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma addresses this issue, they state that kids and teens (Generation Z) today are more depressed, anxious, and insecure than they’ve ever been in history. The emergence of social media shows a direct connection with the mental health of children.

It has been reported that 55% of plastic surgeons have been asked to make their patients look better for social media. Many of the “flaws” that they are being asked to fix are miniscule. Plastic surgeons have not experienced this number of requests until recent years when social media and influencer culture started to take hold. This phenomenon comes from close examination and harsh critique of selfies that they take, imperfections that are unnoticeable if it weren’t for the culture that has emerged most specifically from Instagram.

Social media app Vlogmi is an important step in both addressing this issue and beginning to find new ways to combat it. Users on Vlogmi will only be able to post from the in-app camera. This means there will be no more external editing tools such as PhotoShop or FaceTune. All content on Vlogmi will show genuine and authentic content. We want to build a platform where users don’t need to worry about taking the perfect picture, we are more focused on capturing genuine life experiences and sharing it with your friends, fans, and family. Making social media a healthier place is especially important for the younger generations that are now growing up with social media at their fingertips. With 2/3 of the Vlogmi team being a part of Generation Z, we feel that we truly understand the issues that have come about from social media, as we experience it firsthand.

Vlogmi will actively take steps in both the design and the functionalities of the app to ensure we are doing everything we can to make social media a healthier place, that positively affects users digital well-being.

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