It’s never been easier to change the way we look. The Facetune app lets users modify or remove their perceived imperfections in an instant. It’s almost like having plastic surgery without going under the knife.
Photos edited and retouched on Facetune are plastered all over social media, so what is this distorted view of beauty doing to our children? The SmartSocial.com Team created this app guide so parents can understand exactly how Facetune works before deciding whether it’s appropriate for their kids to use.
What is the Facetune app?
- The Facetune app is a powerful photo editing application
- Users can take photos through the app or edit photos on their camera roll
- You can save edited photos to your phone or share them on social media
- Facetune debuted in 2013 and Facetune2 debuted in 2016 with enhanced features
- The Facetune app asks users for permission to access a user’s camera and microphone
- The app also asks for permission to access a user’s location to geotag photos
- Facetune costs $3.99. In-app purchases are available
- Facetune2 is advertised as free. However, users only get a free three-day trial, if they commit to paying $2.99/month for one year when the trial period ends. There is also a one-time purchase option for $69.99
Why do students like the Facetune app?
- Facetune users can make minor or major adjustments to their appearance
- The app’s features include smoothing or reshaping the face and body, removing blemishes, brightening teeth, and changing the size of noses and lips
- Facetune2 also offers a live editing tool and the ability to change facial expressions and photo backgrounds
The Facetune app can distort reality
Remember when we used to be outraged when we were told that a model’s body and/or features in a magazine had been airbrushed using Photoshop?… Well, we are now that model, and all of the tools for airbrushing are currently in our hands.Source: The Observer
All too often… FaceTune users go overboard, smoothing their selfies into amorphous avatars or slimming their bodies to the point of anatomical impossibility.Source: The Guardian
Some celebrities admit using Facetune
‘Facetune is the best thing to bring to the table. It’s life changing,’ [Khloe Kardashian] shared, adding, ‘It’s the only way to live.’Source: People Magazine
What some users say about Facetune app:
I think this app is a very good app. But I don’t recommend for little kids. It can mess with their mental health. They may think they are not good enough so just monitor [them] using [it].Common Sense Media, 14 year-old user
This is a pretty ridiculous app, in my opinion. All it does is fuel people’s desire to look better than they already do. I tried it out and I think it made me look like a phoney. No thank you.Google Play Store user
Why should parents care?
- Students might develop unrealistic beauty standards because of doctored photos
- Psychologists warn that advanced photo editing apps can lead to “body dysmorphic disorder,” which is a mental health disorder where a person can’t stop thinking about a perceived flaw in their appearance
- The constant pressure to look your best using Facetune can lead to social anxiety, depression, or conditions like anorexia
- There are reported cases of people getting plastic surgery to look like the edited images of themselves on social media
- 55% of plastic surgeons reported that their patients “wanted to look better in their selfies” in 2017, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Listen to Dr. Rady Rahban discuss the ripple effect of social media beauty filters on the SmartSocial.com Podcast
What can parents do?
- Before giving your student access to Facetune or Facetune2, download the app, spend time becoming familiar with the features, then determine if it’s safe for your student to use
- If your students use Facetune, regularly monitor your teen’s edited photos and have frequent discussions about what is okay to post
- Talk to your teen about body image and the distorted reality photo editing apps can create
- Explain the differences of making minor edits (like lighting, color, and shadows) and major cosmetic edits (like changing the appearance of your face)
- Monitor your children for signs of anxiety, sadness, and depression
- Consider contacting the school counselor or a private therapist if your teen needs help coping with body image issues
While kids of all ages can have fun morphing their faces and bodies on apps, like Facetune, many experts believe the consequences of tweens and teens regularly modifying their appearances for social media can leave lasting negative effects.