A Selfie – Fun or Dangerous?

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When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we first experience self-consciousness; this is the exact moment when an individual becomes aware of himself or herself as an object. Taking a selfie as a social phenomenon is a way through which people attempt to feel better about themselves. Very few selfies are meant to lighten someone’s mood or draw a smile on the face of a loved one.

The Most Common Types of Selfies

  • “I’m-having-fun-somewhere-cool!” Selfie — whether it’s the beach, a new coffee shop or a hike, many people snap selfies to show off their interesting adventures.
  • I-look-good-today-I-should-snap-a-picture Selfie — Occasionally, you wake up and think you look great! Teens might have a particularly good hair day, and they want the world to know it! While it might seem vain, at least these kinds of selfies (in moderation) demonstrate self-esteem! And that’s a good thing!
  • I’m-sad-I-want-people-to-know-how-bad-I-feel” Selfie — This one isn’t so good. Sometimes, in an effort to not feel alone, we project feelings and crying sessions that should probably be kept private.
  • Just-finished-a-workout!” Gym Selfie. — Again, this shows that teens are proud of their hard work. They want to share it! However, exercise and feeling good should be their own rewards.
  • Other Common Selfies: “The Car Selfie,” “The Fall-Weather Selfie,” “The Barefoot-Beach Selfie,” “The New-Haircut Selfie,” “The Awesome-Lunch Selfie”… You get the idea. The list is endless.

The common sense tells us Selfies are relatively harmless. Sure, posting too many can make you seem like a narcissist but can it be really actively dangerous for a teen?

 

A Selfie Gives Out Personal Information and Appearance

People either take selfies with friends or in other situations with celebrities. In both cases, people have to be more cautious about giving away information of time, place, and names of people they usually hang out with. By giving out this information, the person sharing it or other friends might be harmed if they are tracked down by a stalker. As you post a selfie on the Internet,  you are also letting others know how your friends and family members look like. While you think you are only doing something fun and light, you do not know that this might give a chance for someone else to use this information against you.  Therefore, you are also sharing with a potential online predator the places where you and your friends tend to hang out and the type of activities you tend to pursue. Selfie also sends the Message that “You Are Not Home”.

Criminal consequences aside, one of the biggest concerns for parents and professionals is Selfies Cause Anxiety in Teens.

Teenagers are already susceptible to low self esteem, and it’s well known that they tend to compare themselves to their peers. Selfies take this to destructive extremes because they force teenagers to compete with one another based on appearances alone, and this plays out day after day whether they’re at school or at home.
Every selfie taken is an opportunity for a teenager to express their emotions and personality. Unfortunately, every selfie posted is also an opportunity for criticism from peers, and teenagers understand this because they’ve seen so many others experience negative attention through social media selfie posts.

This is why teenagers spend so much time selecting clothing, styling their hair, and applying makeup before taking selfies. They also use filters and apps to touch up their photos, and many teenagers look significantly different in their selfies than they do in everyday life. It seems like who you are on social media is more important than who you are in real life for many of our tweens and teens.

When a selfie goes live, teenagers experience intense anxiety waiting for comments and likes. If a picture doesn’t receive much attention or negative comments are left, many teens assume that it  means they’re ugly or not liked. This leads to negative self talk that puts teens at heightened risk of depression. The response to a single selfie can determine how a teenager feels for days or weeks to come.

Talk to Your Teen About What They Post. Taking selfies can really get out of control, but there are some strategies they can follow to avoid being harmed or becoming extremely obsessed with the habit. For those who are taking too many selfies, they might start to think of taking less daily. Also, they ought to consider sharing them with close friends only and not with everyone else. Another great technique is to consider taking pictures of their work/study achievements rather than selfies showing off how they look or the way they are dressed up. This can give them something even more valuable to share with friends and family members, something that does not involve bragging about their looks or clothes.

Eventually, like it or not, what we post on social media affects the way people perceive us. And that in turn can affect job prospects, relationships, and our sense of self. So talk to your teen about the image they’re projecting on social media. Together, you can come up with ground rules to make sure selfies are safe and moderate! Then, you can snap a picture of the two of you together!

Enjoy parenting! And do not forget Safe Lagoon is always there to keep your child safe and happy!

-based on TeenSafe