Abstract: Social media platforms are relevant for the media diet of adolescents. Augmented reality (AR) filters on social media are prevalent within the media consumption of this age group. Recent studies have unveiled the negative impact of beautifying AR filters and digitally enhanced pictures on adolescents’ well-being. However, there is a need for an in-depth understanding of how adolescents use AR filters beyond aesthetic reasons. Therefore, the present study aims to contribute to the existing scholarship by focusing on various AR filters and their relation to adolescents’ well-being. We investigate different ways of using AR filters (e.g., public posts versus ephemeral settings or direct messages to online friends) inspired by peers and social media influencers. Thus, we conducted four focus groups with N = 40 adolescent participants aged 14 to 18 from a European country. Our findings align with previous research on adults, showing that adolescents use AR filters for fun, entertainment, creativity, interaction, and self-expression. Besides, adolescents’ well-being determined using AR filters can be tied to crucial elements of the developmental process, such as connections, identity, learning, and emotions. Results showed that using AR filters on social media can facilitate socializing and increase self-esteem. Conversely, their use is time-consuming and can cause adolescents frustration and enhance social pressure. This study provides new insights into adolescents’ AR-filter-related interactions. Furthermore, it contributes to the literature on AR filter usage, well-being, and the developmental process of adolescents.
Keywords: adolescents; AR filters; augmented reality; social media; social media influencers; well-being