App promises to shave off pounds, blamed for distorting teens - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

App promises to shave off pounds, blamed for distorting teens' body image

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People say that the camera adds 15 pounds, but it can instantly be taken off with a new app called Skinnee Pix.

However, the new app is drumming up a lot of buzz after critics said 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.

The user takes a selfie, and the app alters the picture to show what you would look like if you lost 5, 10 or 15 pounds by carving out your cheekbones and making your face thinner.

From there, users have the option to post the image on social media.

But with all the pressures to look thin, Eyewitness News wanted to know if the app could make more vulnerable people become obsessed. 

"So often we become the society where looking perfect is the standard," said Dr. Laura Saunders, who is a psychologist from the Institute of Living in Hartford.

Saunders said social media drives many people's perception of themselves.

Some people 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 said.

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.

"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," the Skinnee Pix website states.

Even if the app is used as a motivator for some, it could still be damaging to others.

"It's kinda like showing people being skinny is what you need to be when any size is fine," Medina said.

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.

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