Between filters and realities: The impact of Instagram and TikTok

Between filters and realities: The impact of Instagram and TikTok

Since the rise of social media, images have become central to our lives. Platforms such as Instagram y TikTok have sparked a revolution in the way we share our experiences, but along with this transformation, a trend has emerged that is altering our perception of reality: the filtersAre these simply creative tools or are they provoking a 'disease' that affects our self-image and mental health?

Evolution of social media filters

From simplicity to sophistication

Filters, initially simple tools for basic adjustments, have evolved exponentially. Since the 2010s, have moved from modifying exposure and saturation to making drastic changes to the appearancethanks to the incorporation of artificial intelligence. Today, more than 70% of the active users on the Instagram and TikTok regularly employ filters, revealing their massive impact.

The momentum of a new era

The introduction of the artificial intelligence has marked a milestone in the evolution of filters. These algorithms can now detect faces, apply precise corrections and offer options ranging from comical to surreal effects. This convergence has triggered a proliferation of filters, redefining digital aesthetics.

Psychological and social impact

1. Distortion of self-image

The abuse of filters distorts one's perception of oneself, imposing unattainable standards of beauty. Pressure to maintain an idealised image can negatively affect self-esteem and self-perception.

2. Social comparison

Constant exposure on social media encourages comparison. Highly edited images generate envy and self-criticismaffecting the emotional well-being of users.

3. Aesthetic pressure

The filter culture induces a constant pressure for projecting perfection on the Internet. This obsessive search can trigger significant levels of stress and anxiety, affecting mental and emotional health.

Mental health consequences

Although aesthetically appealing, filters are not without consequences. They distort personal perception, fuel constant comparison and encourage the obsessive search for perfection, contributing to problems of anxiety and depression.

Selfie Dysmorphia: Beyond Appearance

An emerging disorder

The further development of filters has led to the "filtering" of the "selfie dysmorphia"a disorder related to the body dysmorphia focused on the altered self-perception due to the frequent use of these filters.

Selfie dysmorphia affects self-esteem by conditioning it to distorted images. This phenomenon, related to the increase in cosmetic surgeries, highlights the need to address mental health before surgical procedures.

Tips for a healthy use of filters

If you choose to use filters, here are some tips:

Between filters and realities: The impact of Instagram and TikTok
  • Conscience: It recognises that filters distort reality.
  • Moderation: Avoid overuse.
  • Self-acceptance: Learn to love yourself without filters.
  • Education: Share information on the psychological impact of filters.
  • Open communication: It promotes authenticity and diversity on the Internet.

The current debate: Regulation or personal responsibility?

The controversy over the regulation of filters has gained prominence. Should platforms impose limits or is individual responsibility the key? This debate raises issues of individual freedom, rights of expression and the need to protect the mental health of users.

Regulation and demands: The road to accountability

Legal action and lawsuits

Several US states. have defendant a Target for their role in the mental health "crisis", including the impact of filters. The Digital Services Act in Europe also emphasises the responsibility of the platforms on the well-being of users.

The dilemma between regulation and personal responsibility requires a balance, promoting awareness and responsible use without stifling creativity.


Social media filters have gone from being simple tools to triggering major debates about health. In this dilemma between regulation and personal responsibility, awareness and education are key elements. Encouraging personal acceptance, dialogue about the reality behind edited images and cultivating a digital culture that celebrates authenticity are crucial steps.

We face the challenge of redefining our relationship with the image in the digital world. Collective responsibility, from platforms to individual users, becomes the basis for building an environment that nurtures creativity without compromising mental health.

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