Signs Your Child Might Be Addicted to Selfies
Snapping a flawless and flattering selfie is an art form. Broadcast throughout social media channels, teens, tweens, and adults alike pose themselves to create the image of perfection—a portrait worthy of Instagram notoriety.
No longer are pictures worth a 1000 words. In today’s social-media dominant world, the worth of a photo—especially a selfie—is judged by the number of likes, loves, shares or up-votes. Once in a blue moon, a selfie gains viral recognition…and the result is internet fame. At least for five minutes.
Today’s generation of kids and teens have grown up with social media, with camera phones and selfies, and with the ever-present allure of snapping an image of themselves at any given time and place. They capture meals, friends, outings, wardrobe changes. They perfect poses; they know their good angles.
Snapping photos and capturing the moment—or even capturing that perfect hair day—is fun, it’s exciting. A flattering self-portrait boosts confidence, and realizing that others endorse the photo with likes and shares feels fantastic.
There is, unfortunately, the negative side of selfies. Not all selfies receive happy, glowing feedback. While cruel and awful commentary is nothing new in the social media realm, when vicious commentary is posted under a selfie the attacks become incredibly personal.
Selfie addiction is real, and it’s destructive. According to an article from CBS in Atlanta, the desire to snap the perfect selfie morphed into a compulsion for one man that encompassed almost half of his day. The need to see himself in the perfect selfie—a goal he could not attain—led him to attempt suicide.
Selfies can be a fun distraction, but there can always be too much of a good thing. Parents should close the shutters on selfie snapping if they feel that the fun has turned into an obsession. Here are the five warning signs your child may be addicted to selfies:
If teens or kids are too busy snapping away or setting up the perfect shot for their selfie instead of completing homework or handling other responsibilities, then they might need a technology break. Selfies also should not consume more time than normal pastimes like hanging out with friends or spending time with family. Teens devoting hours to selfies have a problem, and parents need to intervene.
A shattered self-esteem.
An article in the U.K.’s Daily Star discussed a study by VoucherCloud that linked low self esteem to frequent selfie snapping. More than half of frequent selfie snappers reported a low self-esteem, according to the study. Posting and taking photos should be fun, funny and not taken too seriously. When parents notice a change in confidence and self-esteem, they need to evaluate the cause. If the teen is basing his/her value on the commentary and online approval of others, posting selfies might be contributing to a self-esteem crash.
An obsession with appearance.
Taking pride in appearance is an admirable trait. Being obsessed to the point of narcissism is a problem. Teens who spend hours creating the perfect hair, make-up or overall flawless appearance to mug for a selfie have taken grooming to an obsessive level. Yes, the typical teen might spend two hours getting ready for a date or school to impress peers.
Parents need be on the lookout for constant ruminations on appearance—this includes overly obsessive fixation on grooming, discussions about weight, body image, etc. According to Psychology Today, a study titled “Personality and Individual Differences” explored male selfie addicts to find out if those who frequently post selfies fit the profile of certain psychological diagnoses (including narcissism). The study found that “narcissists are more likely to show off with selfies and make extra effort to look their best in these photos.”
Teens who are suddenly depressed or who begin to isolate themselves are displaying warning signs to parents. If teens or kids are constantly snapping selfies and posting them to online social sites, they also could be the target of online bullies—or Trolls. Criticism of photos taken to show attractive features can be emotionally crushing…and have even larger emotional impacts, depending on the individual. If parents know their child is an avid selfie-snapper and their child is suddenly displaying personality changes—especially depression—the warning signs must be taken seriously. Have a conversation and take action if bullying is discovered.
A too-large selfie photo library.
Sometimes, the biggest and most obvious sign that selfies have become a problem is the sheer number of pictures. If the photo library is filled with selfies—thousands of them—then there might be an issue with selfie addiction. Encourage—or demand—a technology break.
The addiction of selfie snapping (and posting) is easy to understand: everyone wants to feel attractive and have that attractiveness backed-up by the approval of others. With today’s teens, the ability to immediately upload a selfie to social media channels allows for a constant funnel for peer feedback—both positive and negative. The perfect photo can go viral with likes, loves and shares leading to instant internet fame…or, at least, school-wide fame. The allure of this fame and notoriety is what makes each snap oh so thrilling. Parents need to ensure that the selfie experience remains positive, not problematic. Fame is fleeting, but the harm can be permanent.