Is Snapchat Lowering Your Self-esteem?

Allie Nichols, Copy Editor

Do you feel better about yourself when you use a filter? You may not want to admit it, but your answer was probably yes. You may look in the mirror and dislike what you see only because you’re comparing your true reflection to a filtered version of yourself and, on top of that, you’re used to seeing everyone else with a “perfect” face. This distorted mentality is causing other young teens to lose self-esteem because of the comparison of reality and augmented reality they often see on social media. Is Snapchat lowering your and others’ self-esteem with all of its face “fixing” filters?

Snapchat is a popular app used by mostly adolescents and young adults. This social media is mainly used to send quick five-second photos to friends or to put filters on yourself or other people. The app is based in California and was founded by Bobby Murphy, Reggie Brown, and Even Spiegel. It first came out in 2011 and has gone through a few updates since then. Features have been added, improved, and some have even been taken away. Moreover, Snapchat’s most popular feature is its millions of filters you can use on yourself and friends. From making yourself a dog or wearing a flower crown to having Thanos dance in your room, Snapchat has almost any filter you can think of. Besides adding cute designs or backgrounds, this app can also change the topography of a face and, now, even your gender. Is this a problem for our future thinkers? 

According to University of Rochester Medical Center, children’s brains change and advance throughout their youth. The brain does not stop developing until around age 25, but a mature brain has nothing to do with smarts. It is rather a matter of rationalization and emotions. Every child’s and teen’s brain is affected immensely by every action and reaction in their life, and we watch others and if we like what they’re doing, we begin to follow their habits, good or bad. People, teens especially, follow the trends of celebrities and whatever is “cool.”

Did you know the average young adult/teen spends over five hours a week taking selfies? This time excludes the time some people take to edit, touch-up, and/or enhance the photo. Social media users usually want perfection for their pictures because everyone will see them. Models and average people alike touch up their photos. Is this so awful? Well, maybe, it is. With all these “perfect” photos, the idea of looking good is warped. Young adolescents begin to think that the only way of looking acceptable is having a slim waistline and a clear face.

However, just remember to love yourself no matter how “perfect” someone else or their photos may look. You are beautiful inside and out. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Information compiled from “Understanding the Teen Brain ” Understanding the Teen Brain – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center, 2019