If you’ve taken a selfie (or any photo) and put it on social media, you likely know the magic of filters. Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media apps allow you to add a filter that can make your skin glow, make your eyes appear bigger, or even add a puppy dog’s ears and nose to your photo or video.
Filters can be great fun, but they can become a problem if they lead us to not like who we are or what we look like outside of our screens. Author and pediatrician Dr. Meg Meeker recently stopped by The Drew Mariani Show™ to discuss a new trend of young people wanting to change their appearance to better match how they look in their filtered selfies.
Dr. Meeker spoke with callers about how they can help their children form their identity so it is rooted in Christ, not their appearance.
“Where does our identity come from?” Dr. Meeker asked. “Our deep identity, what makes us feel good about being human? First of all, I think if we’re Catholic we say our identity is in Christ, we are made in the image of God, and really let that settle in. The second part of our identity comes from feeling significant and having value by the people we love most and who love us – and that is parents.”
So what can parents do to help their children feel valued and significant? “One of the best things for parents to do is to spend more time with their kids,” Dr. Meeker said. “Not entertaining their kids, but just throwing a ball in the backyard or taking them to the park. Because those are the really satisfying moments for kids. It gives them the attention they crave and it gives them affirmation. And the more you do that and the less social media time they get, it really does help shape a positive and healthy sense of self in these kids.”
Of course, this problem did not start with selfies. People have been wanting to enhance their appearance for thousands of years. And after all this time, no one has found a beauty secret that leads to true happiness and fulfillment. We know this, and it is important to pass this lesson along to our children, and even our adult friends who fall into this mindset.
“If you feel that you need to improve, and you need to change the way you look, even young teenagers know it doesn’t satisfy,” said Dr. Meeker. “So once you start down that road – a little bit of plastic surgery, or Photoshopping, or whatever – it doesn’t end. It feeds on itself. So the more you get into that, the more frustrated you become. And they know this. Because it’s superficial, it isn’t real, it’s focusing on the wrong things that make them feel valuable. And the interesting thing is, I really think teens get what I’m talking about.”
“Parents should always teach their kids that beauty is deeper than the way they look,” explained Dr. Meeker. “And if they buy in to changing them via plastic surgery, they’re reinforcing to their kids that their beauty really is in what people see.”
Listen to the full conversation below: