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Sex, Gender, and Body Image

What are "selfie-improvement" apps?

Selfie-improvement apps are photo-editing programs specifically designed to smooth out the imperfections of selfies (pictures of oneself). Apps such as Facetune, SkinneePix, and Perfect365 promise to give you clear skin, whiter teeth, and other enhanced features. For kids and teens used to capturing and sharing every moment of their lives -- and who understand the power of photos to elevate or downgrade their social statuses -- the temptation to improve their images is strong.

But selfie-improvement apps can prey on teens' fears and insecurities about their appearances. They can make teens over-reliant on the peer validation they get from their boosted images. And, perhaps even more damaging, selfie improvement can make them believe that the artificial representations of themselves are better than the real thing.

Selfies are important to kids, and they're not going away anytime soon. Talk to your kids about the importance of valuing themselves for what they can do, think, create, and imagine, not what they look like.