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A trainee in Clinical Psychology wondered about the need to use face filters on Instagram

I also use them every morning on the train

By Sandra Candelise

I go to the training every morning taking a train that takes me to the office in a quarter of an hour. I am a trainee in Clinical Psychology and my days are held between the minds of patients. On the way, still sleepy, not yet equipped to receive the stimuli of the day, I happen to alienate myself by shaking off the Instagram bulletin board or to update myself on the latest news on the web.

Instagram is the second most used social media platform among teenagers after YouTube (Anderson and Jiang 2018). And the thing that most amuses me, as I go to work, is to play mirrored, vainly, as could happen to every young woman, with Instagram filters. My face in a moment has a make-up to scream, and here, I just need a moment to get the lips to Kim Kardashian.

These are Instagram's Plastic Filters but there are all kinds and moods, there's even a filter that ages the face and predicts how you could be as an old man. The Plastic Filters have had a boom of clicks and the web has been almost invaded by all these faces, swollen and equal. I asked myself, but why? What can be behind this need or pleasure of wanting to correspond, even just for a story, to someone we consider cool or who knows what?

I asked myself several questions and tried to find some answers, but I don't know if I found it. What I found, however, is some information that we could all be interested in reading, because it might be cool to discover some of the dynamics inherent in our humanity, in this liquid era in which we navigate by sight.

Instagram can provide several advantageous rewards such as self-expression, time and entertainment. But the research world has also highlighted several harmful effects, linked to the use of this social media. Instagram can help create an unrealistic beauty standard for teenagers, influencing their perception of an ideal body image, with all the effects and editing tools used on shared photos and videos.

Through some studies we have seen how there, where there was a problematic use of Instagram, there were high levels of dissatisfaction with the body image (BID).

The BID has been defined as the discrepancy between the identification of one's real figure and the figure chosen as a desirable, ideal self-image. It is widely diffused among adolescents and is a relevant factor, since adolescent self-esteem decreases and where there is reduced self-esteem, there will be a higher vulnerability to experiencing psychopathological symptoms. The maladaptive effect that Instagram has on the body image was also explained as a result of a greater social aspect-based comparison.

According to the social comparison theory, in fact, individuals tend to compare their opinions and abilities with the opinions and abilities of others (Festinger 1954). Women exposed to ideal body images seem to engage automatically in social confrontation and this has been linked to greater accessibility to negative thinking (Bocage-Barthélémy et al. 2018). It may be that women (compared to men) are more inclined to engage in problematic use of online applications, which facilitate social interaction, thus making them more vulnerable to having dysfunctional symptoms. It has been reported that girls (compared to boys) are more vulnerable to daydreaming, have a greater desire for fame, and can become obsessed with celebrities. All problematic factors that can lead to greater involvement in social media.

Given all the elements mentioned, we must therefore be very careful in using these social media and above all aware of the risks, in addition to the potential, to which they can expose us.

This is why I leave you with this beautiful interview, to Purple, by Maurizio Cattelan, to Isamaya French, a renowned “Instagram” phenomenon. CLICK HERE.