Ljubljana – Social media posts affect body perception among teenage girls, show findings from the safe-internet use portal Safe.si. Their survey showed that one out of three female secondary school students, and one out of four girls at primary schools aged 12-15 have considered getting plastic surgery.
“Teenagers are exposed to unachievable beauty standards on the internet and sexualised images of people and their lives. Falling short of the beauty ideals imposed by unrealistic and often graphic online posts can have a detrimental impact on the well-being and mental health of adolescents, who are at a vulnerable time in terms of body acceptance and developing a sense of self-worth,” a press release from Safe.si reads.
Their survey showed that internet posts can cause adolescents to become obsessed with how they look, negatively impact body image and cause low self-esteem, because young people compare themselves to the images they find online.
A third of adolescents put filters on photos they post on social media, the survey showed. 45% start comparing themselves to influencers in primary school and develop a negative body image as a result, while the trend is similar in secondary school at 59%, the survey found.
More than a half of teenagers agree that influencers’ photos are often unreal, photoshopped, and look fake, and should thus be marked as altered and false.
This would in turn mitigate the negative body image trend, as young people would stop comparing themselves with these images.
The survey also found that teenagers feel most uneasy when they are excluded from a private peer chat on social media or when they are being made fun of online. Just under half of the respondents feel bad when they come across photos of a party they were not invited to. Not receiving a response to a message or not getting likes on a social media post yield similar results.
How much the internet affects the young also depends on their age. When it comes to sleep deprivation caused by excessive use of the internet, 37% of 12-to-13-year-olds, 44% of 13-to-14 year-olds, and 64% of those aged 14 and 15 report experiencing the phenomenon, the survey also found.