lifestyle

Women2day: The 'Instagram' generation

This week's Women2day looks at how teenagers have changed

(Image: PA)

Remember in the old days when you would have to wait an hour or even longer for your photographs to be developed?

Remember the pressure to have to use up the last remaining images on the roll of film? How simple those times were, compared to today and the ‘Instagram’ generation in which we live.

Back then, if you accidentally blinked or took a bad photo you just had to lump it, whereas nowadays we have hundreds of options to make us look slimmer, cover our blemishes, whiten our teeth and get rid of our wrinkles.

Or if not, there is always Snapchat, which deletes pictures in a matter of seconds - so you don’t even need to worry about looking good.

I know I must sound about a hundred but I feel slightly sad that this is today’s generation, because there was something so refreshingly innocent about the way it used to be.

The stereotypical image of a teenager used to consist of an awkward, spotty and frizzy haired ‘nerd’. But these days, and I’m talking about teenage girls in particular, they are glossy-haired, slick and groomed within an inch of their life. Not a hair is out of place and their makeup is flawless.

When I see them, I am fascinated because when I was their age I honestly don’t think I could have looked worse. I wouldn’t have even known where to buy makeup, let alone know how to apply it.

You can’t really blame them though, because thanks to social media and photo apps like Instagram, they are being judged and scrutinised every day, not just by their peers but by the entire world.

Thanks to the use of hashtags, when you post a photo on Instagram, you are effectively sharing it with the world. And some even go further than photos, and make regular video stories of their day to day lives.

When I looked into it, I discovered there are thousands of people who document every single minute of their days on Instagram. Whether it is showing their followers what they are eating for breakfast, what they have bought in the shops or even just showing off their young children.

This is actually something that people of all ages do, not just youngsters. Narcissistic, or just a sign of today’s ‘Instagram generation’?

As well as ordinary people, you’re also able to get a glimpse into the world of your favourite celebrities. While 20 years ago it was a thrill to join your favourite teen idol’s fan club and wait for a standard letter to arrive every month, we can now watch them cooking, cleaning, eating - amongst a range of other things.

Much has changed. Is life really now measured in how many likes a picture can get or how many followers we have?

It appears so.

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