Sena Nakajima/ Staff reporter
It is safe to say that most teenagers are affected by influencers. Whether it be for better or for worse, one has probably changed their eating habits, style of clothing or compared their lifestyle to an influencer.
There are many things that teenagers are forgetting when comparing themselves to influencers.
For one, most of the photos are probably edited. Influencers probably spend hours or even hire people to edit their photos until it looks ‘perfect’. They would only use their most flattering photos.
“I think they almost always edit their photos, but I don’t think it is any of my business and I think they can edit if they want to,” said Songjoo Lee, grade 11.
Another important thing to do when feeling overwhelmed at an influencer’s ‘enriched’ lifestyle is to think about what an ordinary everyday person would do. There is a good chance that people only post their highlight moments in their lives. So, whilst it may look like the influencers are living the ‘perfect’ life, it is important to remember that they have their share of rough moments too.
A survey was conducted on 100 teenagers using social media. They were asked if they had ever; changed their lifestyles, diets, fashion, or felt that their own lives were not perfect enough after seeing an influencer’s lifestyle. 84% of the interviewees agreed. Some even stated that they hadn’t noticed the effect it had on them until they took the survey.
“I tend to compare myself to their appearance and wealth. They look very good in their photos and look like they have a lot of money,” added Lee.
Some though, have not been affected by influencers. “I personally don’t compare myself to influencers,” said Sasa Hasegawa, grade 11. “I think they sometimes edit their pictures but I don’t have anything against it.”
Whilst these effects are often harmless, on some rare occasions, teenagers stress themselves to be perfect too much. So much that it affects their mental health. Fear of missing out, or FOMO, impacts self-esteem, triggers anxiety and encourages people to use social media more. Perfectly edited photos can also cause intense low self-esteem and negative body image.
In response, YMCA and Dove have launched a campaign, Be Real Body Image Pledge to address body image anxiety, which can be the source of depression and low self-esteem. Negative body image causes teenagers to feel the need to lose weight and therefore leads to developing eating disorders and substance abuse.
With regards to these problems, the organization advises influencers to stop editing their photos. The four principles of the Body Image Pledge are; to reflect diversity, reflect reality, promote health and well-being, and promote the pledge. The pledge also holds brands accountable if they lack diversity or do not portray body image in a responsible way.