The popular trend ‘Selfie’ is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon that has not only gotten the attention of teenagers but even adults, artists and celebrities alike. Likewise, selfie syndrome has been on the increase in different nations of the world, among teenagers especially.
What is selfie syndrome?
It is pertinent that the word ‘selfie’ is first defined before the exposition of ‘selfie syndrome’ is given.
A selfie is a photograph that a person takes of himself or herself with the use of a smartphone, a camera or with the support of a selfie stick and is usually uploaded to social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
According to Child/Teen Development Specialist and Body Image Expert, Dr. Robyn Silverman, selfie syndrome is “a matter of adolescents and teens constantly trying to define themselves. They crave positive feedback to help them, see how their identity fits into their world. Social media offers an opportunity to garner immediate information [about their identity]. The problem is they are looking in a dangerous place.”
In its literal sense, selfie syndrome is the obsessive and excessive desire to constantly upload selfies online because of the voracious crave for attention and approval from people. As of press time, more than 31 million Instagram photos have been hash tagged #selfie, and according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 91% of teens have posted a photo of themselves online.
Factors responsible for the prevalence of Selfie syndrome in today’s world
The core reason for peoples’ posting of selfies is for other people to see, like and comment on them. Thus, the underlying factor responsible for selfie syndrome is the quest for attention and identity-approval. Other desires that fuel the selfie syndrome include:
- The yearning to be loved by others- A lot of people upload selfies in order to feel loved. Naturally, it is an innate feature of all human beings to desire love and affection from people. However, the true demonstration of love is not inherent in the comments or likes that people give you but it is depicted in co-existence despite our different flaws and backgrounds. Therefore if you feel that you are loved, based on peoples’ feedback on your selfies, you may as well be living in a lie.
- The quest for acceptance- Today, many individuals, especially teenagers desire to be accepted by their peers. They want to feel among. But the hazard is that when you are among, you can get lost in the crowd, that is, you may lose your own uniqueness and end up living in another person’s shadow. A large number of teenagers today, post pictures of themselves going on a trip or at a club house, with their girlfriends or in a luxurious place so that their friends would think they are cool and will accept them the more. But this is a wrong mindset and attitude because it means that it is what their friends comment or say about them that would determine their lives and actions. This is wrong! You were born an original, do not die a copy.
- The longing for significance- Everyone wants to matter. Everyone wants other people to think highly of him or h Therefore, countless numbers of youths nowadays take and upload selfies of themselves in extravagant outfits or exquisite places so that their friends would be so impressed with their own kind of personality and term them as important. But the truth is: your significance does not lie in peoples’ opinions of you but in the impact you make on those around you.
- The eagerness for connection- Social media is basically created to enhance networking amongst people. However, there are some people who have an insatiable desire for connection. Their love for meeting people is at an extreme and is usually backed up with a desire to make profit from the people they connect with. Thus, this can equally be a reason for selfie syndrome, as a lot of such people would like to upload a lot of pictures of themselves on social media so that people can see them as lovable and also be interested in being their friends.
Ills of Selfie Syndrome
Selfies are not bad in themselves; they actually help control one’s image online. But like anything, moderation is a good thing to exercise. Therefore, selfie syndrome is a meme that must be eradicated. Some of the dangers of selfie syndrome are outlined below.
- Selfie syndrome makes people measure their self worth by superficial standards such as the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ of others instead of higher benchmarks like character and unique talents. Consequently, selfie syndrome makes people begin to tie their self esteem to comments and likes that they get when they post a selfie. But it is very important to note that this feedback from people on social media is not based on who you are: they are based on what you look like. Therefore, it is a rather too shallow yardstick with which to measure your self-worth; it is like judging a book by its cover not its content.
- The more an individual gets addicted to posting selfies, the more such individual’s life would be controlled by ‘comments’ and ‘likes’ from social media. As seen today, many people even go to the extent of posting partially or totally nude selfies on the net, all in a bid to get more ‘likes’ and ‘comments.’ In the hearts and minds of such people they think they are classy but in the true sense, their minds are out of control.
- Selfie syndrome can have negative effects on ones’ career. For example, people can begin taking selfies of their activities in the office or of events that their profession takes them to. This can lead to the waste of precious man hours as time that is meant to be used for productive things at work would be channeled to trivial activities like taking of selfies. One can lose one’s job through this.
- Too much posting of selfies that includes one’s location can attract stalkers (obsessed and anonymous followers of other people). Stalkers can begin to monitor your activities and begin following you around. This is very dangerous.
- Selfie syndrome can make you never feel good about yourself until you get positive feedback on your pictures. Such people begin to suffer inferiority complex and low self-esteem.
- This syndrome can equally make you become narcissistic (that is, you develop a personality disorder in which you are excessively pre-occupied in self-love at your detriment and at the detriment of others).
How to get rid of selfie syndrome
Parents should endeavor to teach their children about self esteem and factors that contribute to self-esteem. So that their children or teens would not end up building their self esteem on the opinions of others.
Families should also involve their children in activities that would create an atmosphere of togetherness and love between them and their children/teens so that their children would not go about searching for love where there is none.