Instagram users have an enormous amount of capability and necessary tools to digitally alter themselves in the best possible way, all in the hopes of achieving the “perfect” look. Instagram serves as a platform for users to portray their “ideal selves”. The “ideal self” is a potential, future version of the real self, an idea that is impractical and naïve. As a result of the encouraged “perfect” body and “ideal self”, Instagram has become a platform for damaged and corrupted images. When individuals apply certain filters to their photos, they destroy the photo in its pure form and get rid of its realness. The filters on Instagram can be seen as a crutch to hide the reality behind certain photos. Filters help to misguide the representation of people’s lives, which is a popular trend on Instagram nowadays. The anonymity available online allows individuals to present their best selves, while editing and deleting negative information. Furthermore, selective self-presentation occurs when Instagram users present overwhelmingly positive information, a practice that is normative and encouraged on social media platforms like Instagram. Instead of picking and choosing solely positive qualities to show off, people should post pictures on Instagram that convey the reality of the experience that is being shown. These posts should not be artificially changed based on rules in society or low self-esteem. If someone wants to post a picture of him or herself from a vacation, they should show the unedited, pure experience that they had, rather than a fake, edited version of an unrealistic experience.
Instagram destroys civilization because its users get carried away with the amount that they allow the numbers of likes and followers affect their self-esteem. Instagram users have the ability to present themselves in unrealistic ways and skew others’ perceptions in order to gain likes and followers. If certain physical attributes are known to make someone appear more “famous” on Instagram, or known to get someone to gain more likes and followers, that person is highly likely to change his or her self-presentation because of that. Specifically, if it is observed that someone gets a lot of likes on a picture of him or herself in a bikini, other Instagram users are more likely to edit and enhance their bodies so that they can have the “perfect” bikini body and gain the temporary satisfaction of having more than enough likes. Scrolling through an Instagram feed, liking pictures, and following new accounts can become addictive. Some people even convince themselves that their Instagram feed turns into their reality, which is dangerous for mental health. Instagram is associated with high levels of anxiety and depression. “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough,” a survey respondent said. Instagram received the worst scores for body image and anxiety.
Many people find a safe haven through their Instagram accounts. They can put up a façade in front of the world and easily hide their insecurities. This safe haven also has to do with the fact that there is no real communication on Instagram. Obviously, there is definitely no face-to-face interaction, and minimal textual interaction unless it is a direct message. For the most part, the point of Instagram is for the users to post pictures for their followers to like and briefly comment. This fact allows Instagram users to brainwash themselves according to the “perfect” person so much that they start subconsciously acting like this behind the phone screen. The lack of communication via Instagram has dangerous repercussions because it is solely based on edited pictures. Nowadays, people constantly crave instant gratification, as in that little boost of self-esteem that comes with another like or comment or follower, but when they realize that this is not reality, the anxiety and depression starts to kick in.