A Digital Mask

Students, Teacher Speak Out About Real Life Issues Related to Social Media Standards


Photo by Lacie Perry

Sophomore Ireland Weaver takes photos on Snapchat. Weaver says that the only reason she uses filters is so she can have fun with them herself. “I think filters are like digital makeup,” Weaver said. “I put filters on my photos to make them pleasing to me, it’s not for anyone else.”

Lacie Perry , Reporter

Today in society there have been recorded events of models, celebrities and teenagers having their pictures Photoshopped and then published with or without consent. Even though using filters and changing the way people look can make them seem more socially presentable and better looking, according to sophomore Ireland Weaver, it can take a toll on how other people perceive them.

“I think it can make people feel worse about themselves,” Weaver said. “You go on Instagram and you see all these beautiful people and you can’t help but compare yourself. They look so pretty and hot and you’re sitting there looking like a cold wet sack of trash. What you don’t think about is those beautiful people are feeling the same way you do, we are all looking to fit in.” 

There are so many tools nowadays that can aid in editing pictures, Adobe Photoshop being one of the most popular programs, with the inclusion of apps like Facetune, and even Instagram and Snapchat. However, the usage of these apps vary on a person’s intention. 

Photo Courtesy of Ireland Weaver

“I think part of the reason is [that] they’re not comfortable, or they have options of filters to use that look brighter or prettier than the original picture,” sophomore David Smithhart said. “I believe it’s a mix of both, people wanting to change how they look and doing it because they can. They see the options right in front of them and they can see which one is so obviously better, so they’ll choose the edited one because they want the best looking picture to post.” 

In a recent Instagram story poll on @CPHSNews, 31 out of 34 (91 percent) of people voted that there is more of a stereotype on females for editing and Photoshopping pictures than there is for males. 

“There is definitely more social pressure on females to use Photoshop,” AP Psychology teacher Nancy Steele said. “Many girls and women fear being socially and publicly shamed for their appearance. I do understand, however, that more and more males are facing body image problems.” 

According to Oberlo, a website with a collection of social media statistics, “Social media statistics from 2019 show that there are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide, and this number is only growing. That equates to about 42 [percent] of the current population.” Regardless of what the guidelines for each app are, there will always be those who are younger than what the criteria intend, which leads to more preteens and teens being affected more harshly than the circumstances would warrant. For example in Influence Central’s 2016 Digital Trends Study, they stated that 39 percent of kids got their first social media account “between[the] ages [ten] and 12,” which is younger than the minimum age of 13 many companies require. 

The person isn’t enjoying life if they are constantly curating their life as a museum piece for others to view.

— Nancy Steele

“I believe that it affects teens differently,” Smithhart said. “They’re growing up and are under a constant feel[ing] of ‘oh that person looks good, that’s a nice filter, I want it,’ and they feel that they constantly have to look pretty, and always show the best of themselves.” 

In the end, Steele said that even if pictures are edited or modified to look a certain way, it will never be a negative thing if it is used for the right reasons. 

“It’s okay if it’s used judiciously,” Steele said. “For example, nobody wants that big zit or shiny forehead on their prom, graduation, or wedding picture. But if it’s used even for the most casual photo situations, that’s where it becomes excessive in my opinion.”

Do you add a filter to pictures you post on social media?

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