Layla, Charlotte and Kyla are happy with their untouched selfies. Picture: Alex Coppel
Layla, Charlotte and Kyla are happy with their untouched selfies. Picture: Alex Coppel

Why your kid’s digitally edited selfies are concerning

Young adults who don't like their looks are more likely to digitally edit their selfies on social media and monitor the reaction.

But all of this cropping, filtering and editing to please others is likely to increase their own body dissatisfaction, a new study of young Australian adults has found.

Lead researcher Alexandra Lonergan from Macquarie University interviewed 184 young men and women and found the effort to choose, edit and monitor responses to selfies may have an impact on their mental health.

"Photo manipulation and investment were associated with greater body dissatisfaction for both genders," she said.

"Those that are dissatisfied with their appearance may be more likely to cultivate their image online, such as choosing the 'best' selfie to present on social media," Ms Lonergan said.

Teens Kyla, Charlotte and Layla. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Teens Kyla, Charlotte and Layla. Picture: Alex Coppel.

Some 90 per cent of young adults access social media daily, which often involves posting photos. Other research shows those who idealise thinness are more likely to frequently post manipulated selfies and monitor their reception, such as counting "likes" - this is partly why Instagram has removed its "like" function for many users.

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Canterbury Girls Secondary College year 9 student Layla Mansour-Coppel, 14, from Canterbury, said people reacted best to natural photos posted online.

"I think you don't have to edit yours photos that much to make everybody else happy or be happy yourself," she said.

"I don't edit too much, maybe make the background nicer but I am always normal and natural and feel happy about it."

The research, titled "Me, my selfie and I", was published in the journal Body Image.