Behind Face Filters - Glasshouse Christian College

Behind Face Filters

  • March 16, 2023

Behind Face Filters

Funny Face Filters

Do you remember the attorney in west Texas who accidentally had a cat face filter on during a Zoom call? It was a very serious meeting with 394th Judicial District Court but the poor attorney didn’t know how to turn off the cat filter. In frustration, he said that the meeting should go ahead with him looking like a cat and famously added, “I’m here live, I’m not a cat!” Half a million viewers thought it was very funny and, if you want to, you can add to their number by seeing it on YouTube below:

Most face filters were designed for fun and have been with us for many years. We’ve even been using a filter in our Prep classes to age our youngest students into grandparents as part of celebrating Grandparent’s Day. They make the cutest senior citizens ever! Prep students as grandparents 2022.

However, there are two more aspects to face filters that are not funny at all.

Snapchat dysmorphia

Nearly all of us would like to look slimmer and have clearer skin or whiter teeth so it’s not surprising that a 2021 study showed that 87 percent of teens use a filter on social media and almost 20 per cent use a beauty filter. 

“The difference a filter can make is often not a good thing.”Snapchat dysmorphia” is leading to more plastic surgery than ever before.

No one can compare to perfection so the results are bound to be disappointing. In the last five years, new terms have been coined such as “filter dysmorphia” and even “Snapchat dysmorphia” which are really just forms of Body Dysmorphic Disorders

There is nothing inherently wrong with filters but the imbalance of perfection versus reality can be harmful to the already volatile range of teenage emotions and their sense of self-worth. 

The problem is that we are increasingly spending more time on social media and are therefore being presented with an unreal world of beautiful people with flawless complexions, perfect teeth and enviable BMIs. In the USA there has been a surge in cosmetic procedures so people can look like their face-filtered selves and 61 percent of teens said that beauty filters actually made them feel worse about their real appearance. 

There are two things you can do to help now.

  1. Set a good example by allowing less-than-perfect photos of yourself to be shared. Don’t obsess over how the photos make you look but focus on the feel of the photo. Emphasise capturing candid moments rather than being consumed by taking the perfect picture.
  2. Encourage your teen to do a selfie audit. Ask them to consider how they feel about the whole process. Is it detracting from their well-being? How does it make them feel when they see the unreality of all the other filtered faces?  What percentage of the time are they adding ‘beauty filters’? Is it time for a dose of reality to restore balance?

Fake People Face Filters

Face filters can be used to create fake people. In just a few clicks and about 60 seconds, a face filter app can turn a 60-year-old man into a young boy or even a young girl. 

It can be funny to see yourself as 20 years older or see a politician as a cat but it is no laughing matter when these tools are in the hands of predators. We instinctively believe what we see but we can no longer do that when it comes to anything online. 

Educate yourself and ensure your children aren’t fooled either. The following tips are fairly basic and apply to all online safety but I believe they are worth reiterating.

  • Monitor who your children are talking to or playing online games with. Ensure they know these people in person and not just online. 
  • Never overreact if they tell you something that is alarming. Stay calm and explore the situation with them. If it is something reportable, report it together and show them how. Praise them for telling you of the situation and encourage them to continue to be alert.
  • Don’t ban them from their devices. This will just result in them being more secretive and keeping things from you. 
  • Continue to check their privacy settings. There are lots of safety filters out there so stay educated and check their devices often. 

In conclusion, while face filters can be a fun way to add some entertainment to our lives, they can also have some negative consequences. The pressure to achieve unrealistic beauty standards through beauty filters can lead to body dysmorphic disorders, and the ease with which fake people can be created through face filters can be exploited by predators. It’s important to use these filters responsibly and to educate ourselves and our children on how to stay safe online. By doing so, we can ensure that our experiences with face filters remain enjoyable and harmless.

Mike Curtis, Principal

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