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Can editing selfies be bad for you?

photo of two students posing with a photo frame

Editing photos is so easy now. With apps like slumber, The X-Pro II, or Sierra you can eliminate blemishes, dark circles, and that hated birthmark to create the perfect selfie. After all, who wouldn’t want to take the few extra minutes to reinvent their look via social media filters and put their “best face forward”? But is there a downside?

Unfortunately, photo manipulation is proving to be detrimental to its users. Photo manipulation refers to any type of editing of photo elements, such as an individual’s features or color hues, prior to sharing. The more time individuals spend engaging with social media, either through photo sharing or viewing, the greater the body-related and eating concerns.

The more time individuals spend engaging with social media, either through photo sharing or viewing, the greater the body-related and eating concerns.

Those who more frequently manipulate photos of themselves before sharing have even greater degrees of body dissatisfaction, eating concerns, and dieting behaviors. However, the problem isn’t just with taking the occasional selfie and altering a few things. The issue is that we compare ourselves to our peers.

Up to 90 percent of college-aged students start this comparison within 15 minutes of waking up. When individuals constantly compare themselves with the edited and perfected photos of their peers, they end up feeling inadequate and dissatisfied with their own appearances.

This is where the Body Project comes to the rescue. Illinois State University’s Student Counseling Services and Health Promotion and Wellness offer this healthy body image program to Illinois State women. The Body Project is designed to foster positive body images, while creating self-awareness and discussions on body appreciation.

Women who participate in the Body Project learn how to embrace a healthy body ideal, decrease “fat talk”, and learn to value the non-appearance aspects of themselves. So before you decide to post your latest enhanced selfie or Snapchat with the newest filter, take a few minutes to sign up to participate in Illinois State’s Body Project today!