Yikes! The Teenage Filter on TikTok is Trending

Emma Crameri Emma Crameri has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 2 August 2023

A British journalist posted her concerns about the new teenage-face filter on TikTok.

The filter allows you to photoshop a teenage face onto your womanly body. It’s incredibly realistic and follows the face accurately.

Similar filters use augmented reality, so you can change the colour of your skin, or try out new hairstyles or lipsticks.

Did you know the teenage filter on TikTok has been viewed 311.6 million times?

Advantages of the teenage-face filter

  • Hides wrinkles and blemishes without the cost of botox or plastic surgery
  • Anecdotal reports that for people who are transitioning or identifying as nonbinary, trans, or fluid the visual imagery helps them see how they might have looked like as a teenager and have found the experience therapeutic

Disadvantages of the teenage-face filter

  • Carefully curated images show unrealistic beauty standards
  • Reinforces the stereotype that younger images are better
  • May encourage a negative self-image and negative body image thoughts, and as a result trigger dysmorphia and eating disorders
  • May facilitate catfishing and grooming behaviour online (as it allows predators to pretend to be fellow teenagers or impersonate children)

Research on Teenagers’ Online Behaviour

Social media allows teenagers to feel more connected, maintain friendships, access information and show their creative side. 

The Pew Research Center has found “Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to say they … use TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, while boys are more likely to use Twitch and Reddit. Boys also report using YouTube at higher rates than girls, although the vast majority of teens use this platform regardless of gender.” 

However, “38% of teens say they feel overwhelmed by all the drama they see on social media, while about three-in-ten say these platforms have made them feel like their friends are leaving them out of things (31%) or have felt pressure to post content that will get lots of likes or comments (29%). Another 23% say these platforms make them feel worse about their own life.” 


  • Require all social media apps to tag the filter being used or have a disclaimer at the start
  • Disable some filters for anyone under 18
  • Have open discussions with your teenager about these filters and how they feel after using social media.

The overwhelming majority of the comments on the post were negative and included words like disturbing, creepy, concerning, and messed up.

There is significant research that shows Social Media Filters Are Changing How Young People See Themselves and this leads to impacts on body image and self-esteem.

There are several groups who are helping to shape the laws and standards regarding safety and diversity in these emerging technologies, such as the Gatherverse community, Women in Immersive Tech and XRSI – XR safety initiative.

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