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Instagram addiction deterrent app

Image credit: pexels.com (Charis Gegelman)

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MS
Miloš Stanković Dec 06, 2021
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Necessity

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Why:
Besides being considered an unwanted time-waster by some, Instagram use frequently results in body or face image issues because of the unrealistic standards set there. This often leads to a lack of confidence in the real world and even depression.
Solution:
An app for helping reduce social media addiction, particularly Instagram. The app's secondary function is breaking the false mirage of how people look on Instagram. A reminder that people are curating only for the best photos of themselves, altering them extensively via filters, photoshop, not showing their actual appearance.
The app takes random photos of you with your front camera throughout the day, especially when your alarm goes off in the morning. But also while you're driving, browsing, texting...
When you post a photo you want on Instagram, it automatically posts another random photo of you that it took with the front camera. Without your knowledge as to which will it be.
Basically, resulting in a lot of this as the secondary photo on an Instagram post.
I could see this make people second-guess whether they need to post the photo they wanted to post anyways. If it becomes a trend, it's a far more realistic 'Instagram vs reality' trend than what is now posted on Insta.
The influencers might try to game it to give weight to their beauty, but you can make sure that the alarm photo is taken only when the phone hasn’t been active for 6+ hours - to ensure the user was actually sleeping. I'm guessing by now the cameras can detect whether someone is wearing makeup or posing (tilting their head, holding a stiff smile too long) and refuse to take photos at that point.

Non-selfie/portait post deterrant

On a similar note, the app can be utilized to fine-tune against the highlights aspect of Instagram - which is that everyone posts only the best, most exciting moments of their lives. When they go rafting, hiking, to a wedding. Compounded, it makes the viewer feel like they are living a dull, unfulfilled life comparatively.
To combat this, one could possibly sync the location function on a phone and when you post a photo, it can show in statistics-graph that you actually spent 70+ hours of that week at your home, or at work, 20 in traffic, while only three at the wedding. It would also serve a secondary function as a reminder to actually be more active.
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Creative contributions

Remove filters from other people's images

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Michaela D
Michaela D Dec 11, 2021
An app that would show you how posted images on Instagram would be without the filters. Instagram would never agree to add this function but another app could do a good enough job to remove some basic filters. The app would be trained to recognize filters and then "remove them". The result would be something similar to some of the images in this and this one article. Some alterations like removing weight etc may not be easy to "undo" but others like skin texture and glow would be easier.
Benefits
Instagram users would be reminded that most photos are manipulated and people look different in real life. This would make them feel better about themselves, and possibly reduce the chances of depression linked to social media use.
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Disabling filters instead

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Povilas S
Povilas S Dec 07, 2021
The idea is original and fun, but when it comes to the practical aspect of lessening screen addiction, it's apparent that the vast majority of people wouldn't want to use such an app. To post a contrasting good-looking and a random picture at once could only work as a joke/meme. So some people might want to do this for fun from time to time, but the main psychological aim for most is to represent themselves well and it's not something that can be easily overcome. Social media fulfills this need for its users and that's one reason why it's addictive.
The second reason why this approach seems too extreme to me is the privacy issues. You'd have to let the app photograph you at random moments not knowing when it will do that. Most would be repulsed by this idea, I think, let alone the thought that the pictures might be posted on social media or otherwise leaked somewhere which is always a possibility in the age of extensive online tracking.
Therefore I think a less aggressive approach might work better for people who are aware of their social media addiction and want to reduce it. A dedicated phone's function regulating social media use could simply disable the use of filters when posting on Instagram. You'd be allowed to post, for example, one picture out of 10 with filters and the rest only without them.
Your availability to use filters would depend on how much you use Instagram and how often you use filters when posting there. Of course, people might still make themselves look better by using makeup, certain angle/light when photographing, etc., but this requires more effort than simply putting a filter with the same app that you post through.
The addiction deterrent function could also check for any picture modifications on or off Instagram, meaning if you modified a picture with another app before posting it on Instagram, the function would prohibit posting it as well.
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MS
Miloš Stanković2 months ago
I think the sheer app that posts an altered, good and then a regular photo would be enough for a number of people to realize how silly they are acting when curating for such unrealism. That's the function of the app, to put a mirror of sorts to the behaviour and how false almost all of the content is. Realizing that if I have this duality of appearance, so do the influencers.
As for the privacy issues, I think that the front camera rarely catches nudity or something similarly incriminating (noted, the app is only taking photos when the phone is unlocked and held) as it is always pointed at the head.
Also, I kinda feel that privacy is already so lost. There is a reason why even tech billionaires like Zuckerberg who can afford and understand cyber security still put tape covers on their laptops and phone cameras or mics. There are countless examples of people just speaking a product name near a phone and getting the exact advertisement hours later on Instagram.
An app that would take away filters would work, especially as most top influencers don't even take photos with their phones. They do it with professional cameras and alter them via photoshop and then upload it to their phone and Insta. Yet I don't see it as having as strong of a healing effect as posting two photos (one intended, one random) would.
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Revamping Instagram and other social media apps

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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Dec 13, 2021
I think while your idea is an interesting one, it definitely could result in many privacy and user data concerns. To add on, many social media apps such as TikTok and Instagram too are beginning to incoporate reminders that notify users once they have used the app for a certain time span.
How I would approach this issue of unrealistic and unhealthy influence from users would be to instead transform the way we tackle such problems of comparison.
Problems
  • Users spend too much time on social media
  • Users are negatively affected(self-esteem issues etc) due to comparison which results from browsing of social media
Solution
One could either revamp instagram or create an app that only allows users to present an authentic & realistic version of themselves. That means, no filters, no editing of photos(in the app) among other features. Much like how people use stories to feature their daily lives, instagram could create a section or a tool that allows users to influence others positively through stories that do not have any form of editing of filters done.
Another option would be to create an algorithm of sorts that recognizes filtered and edited photos or videos. Such an algorithm would then remind users through a notification before the photo or video is viewed, that it has been edited before. There can be different levels of filters too, for example, "heavily edited", "edited" and "slightly edited".
Furthermore, as instagram already collects much of our individual data, they could instead use that data to influence users positively. Eg if users often view post about weight-loss, instagram could suggest gym locations or diet ideas instead of ads in order to gain revenue.
All in all, I think it is never easy to combat such societal issues that have many factors at play. It is always ideal to have a balance between a solution that is too aggressive or too insignificant. We should strive to find a middle point whenever possible.
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