Phone app alters 'selfies' to look thinner - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Phone app alters 'selfies' to look thinner

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

They say "the camera adds 15 pounds," but a new phone application called "Skinnee Pix" was created to instantly take that weight off in photos.

While this may seem like something everyone wants, critics are saying the app may break down some user's self-esteem.

"This app just makes people feel bad about themselves," said Ariana Medina of Rocky Hill, who added that she thinks the app shows people that being skinny is what is right, when she said any size is fine.

The way the app works is that the user takes a photo of themselves, also known as a ‘selfie,' and the app alters the picture to show what that user would look like if he or she lost five, 10 or 15 pounds, by carving out cheekbones and making faces thinner.

From there, the user has the option of posting the image on social media, like Facebook or Twitter. With all of the pressures to look thin, opponents are saying the app could make vulnerable people become obsessed with their appearances.

"So often we become the society where looking perfect is the standard," said Dr. Laura Saunders, a psychologist from the Institute of Living in Hartford. She added that social media drives many people's perception of themselves.

Some people also quantify their self-worth by tallying up ‘Likes' and comments from the online community, which can have damaging implications.

"We become too focused on social media, as a way to have likes, that's how you feel valued. Again we're looking at outside things to feel a sense of value or self-worth," Saunders added.

Creators of the app said the purpose is to improve a user's appearance in pictures when they come out unflattering from either "bad lighting" or shadows. The creator's website said, "We did not build this app to address body image (since it does not alter the body), but if it gets people talking in the right direction about taking their health seriously, well then we're all for that."

Experts said the best way for parents to curb body image issues in their children is to keep an open dialogue, and watch to see if there are any changes to the way they speak about their own self-worth.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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