Photoshop and social media have a massive impact on students attitude and mental health

BHS talks about social media's affect (or not) on their lives

Peyton Galloway

Social media is an epidemic that has taken over today’s generation. With extra pressure from being in AP and honors classes, being a student athlete, or managing clubs and school, being a teenager in today’s world is harder than ever. Plus, the added stress of not looking like the celebrity or influencer that has trained professionals editing their every flaw does not help the rising levels of depression and anxiety in high school students.

The website She Knows explains that a person can internalize the feelings of low self esteem and it can eventually lead to feelings of depression. They also say that people engage in behaviors that will help them attain bodies that are unachievable by working out more, eating less, and using more makeup.

Experts say that unfollowing accounts that use photoshop to edit their pictures can drastically increase self-esteem and body image. Unfollowing these accounts can help you focus on realistic goals that are yours and not others.

In fact, the AMA (American Medical Association) recommended the banning of photoshop because of the amount of eating disorders it has caused and is still causing. These unrealistic images get inside the head of teenagers and take over their minds telling them to look like that when in fact it is completely impossible. Three of the most common mental illnesses, including eating disorders and depression, are linked to how people are presented in social media and how young adults take to it.

AP Psychology teacher Kimberly Davis believes there is not a lot to be done about the social media epidemic. “All we can do is provide education, awareness, and have an open conversation with the students,” she said. She believes there is so much awareness about photoshop in celebrities and influencers and that students should be wary when scrolling. She said, “Trust your gut, if it doesn’t feel right don’t participate in it.” This pertains to cyberbullying, what is being posted, and what is being said on posts. “Taking away the students phones was the first step,” she said, “They are now not worried about what is going on in other classes and if they are involved or not.” 

Sophomore Mya Zaplitny says she spends about 2-3 hours a week on social media besides Snapchat. This includes apps like Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram. “That’s how we communicate, teenagers, we don’t text or call, we just Snapchat,” she said. These apps can change people however, and how they feel about themselves and their worth to society. Zaplitny said, “I look at it like this, if you try to change yourself and your personality to ‘fit in’ or ‘be cool’ you’re not being yourself and people will notice.”

Emily Storm, a senior, feels differently about social media and the way it makes others feel. “It’s a competition to see who looks the best and who can get the most likes, it’s sad,” Storm said. She explains that she loves keeping in touch with her far away family but sometimes it keeps her too engaged and ends up spending 5-6 hours on it, including Snapchat. She says she can tell if something is photoshopped by the person, “If someone is skinnier on their Instagram, rather than in person, it is really easy to tell, also if something just seems too smoothed out.”

And, to finish it out, Sophomore Alexa Bahu said, “I am not bothered by the way people use these apps, and I am not affected by it. I honestly think it’s sad how in the world we are living in, people are used to seeing these kinds of things. It is even more sad that people are buying into these demeaning pitches of what perfect is, given by society’s absence and unrealistic labels, and then try to conform to it.”

Conclusively, social media still has the power over students and sometimes the way they feel about themselves. However, teenagers are getting much better at recognizing the photoshopping of celebrities and influencers and are learning to be less affected by it. So, be wary of how much time you scroll because how it is influencing your brain is factor that is different for each person.