Social media obsession with filters leads to ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’

"I do use social media, especially Instagram and Snapchat," said social media user Jon Reiss.

It's another social media app that's taken the world by storm.  But what was once created to give users the opportunity to talk with friends around the world, has since turned into an unhealthy obsession.

"You use filters and you swipe over and swipe over and it's like this filter or the filter and it makes you either feel better about yourself," said Reiss.

Experts are warning teens and young adults about the fixation of using filters on their photos. They're calling it "Snapchat Dysmorphia" where they think they should look like the heavily edited pictures they see on their phones.

"As this has begun to be more popular, children and teenagers are influenced by other children and teenagers," said Psychologist Dr. Kathy Seifert.

With Snapchat, users have the ability to pick from various types of filters that often give them freckles, bigger eyes, and even different colored hair. But when you look at that altered photo, you may start to think that that's what you're supposed to look like.

"They go through a ton of make up and prep and everything just for that one picture on social media and you shouldn't focus your entire life around that," said social media user Sean Castellano.

Some teens are even going as far as getting surgery to look like those filters.

"You should definitely be OK with who you are because as soon as you see that one picture, like oh I want to be like them, you're going to spend your whole life going towards that and it's just not gonna work," said Castellano.

And parents say they're worried about the impacts these social media trends will have on their own children.

"He's going to be 13 this year and so he is staring to get into the social media, starting to get into the texting and it's absolutely a worry," said parent Philip Cooper.

That's why health officials say it's imperative that parents remind their kids that they're perfect just the way they are and to continue to keep the lines of communication open at all times.

"If parents know what's going on in their child's thoughts and emotions, then they can make a better judgment as to whether this is something that might be harmful for them," said Dr. Seifert.

Health officials add that if you are suffering from low self-esteem or body image issues, you should reach out to a person you trust. But if you don't feel comfortable, you can also reach out to a counselor or mental health professional for help.


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