5 Ways Selfies Are Damaging Your Self-Worth

Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Ways Selfies Are Damaging Your Self-Worth


Set in motion by the widespread accessibility of smartphones and social media apps, like Instagram, the “selfie” trend has become an internet mainstay. Now recognized by Webster’s Dictionary as a valid part of our lexicon, this cultural craze spans multiple age brackets, from teens and twenty-somethings to tech savvy adults.

Upon first glance, the act of directing the camera toward your own face, snapping a photo, then uploading to your Instagram feed might seem like harmless entertainment. However, recent evidence suggests otherwise. In fact, more and more studies pinpoint the selfie phenomenon as a cause of low self-esteem and related psychological issues.

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So, next time you’re agonizing over which filter brings out that summer tan, consider these risk factors which could be linked to incessant selfie-taking.

Trigger Negative Body Image Disorders

Viewing one’s appearance through the distorted lens of a smartphone camera can elicit a faulty—and often adverse—impression of your facial features or physique. These resulting insecurities often manifest through extreme “quick-fixes” like cosmetic surgery, needless dental treatments and even restrictive diets. Moreover, industry-leading psychiatrist Dr. David Veale enumerates that most of his Body Dysmorphia patients (ie the obsession with imagined physical defects) are also prone to taking frequent selfies.

Distance You from Personal Relationships

Dr. David Houghton, professor at the UK's Birmingham Business School emphasizes that people who broadcast themselves across social media are more likely to amass superficial “followers,” rather than intimate connections. If your selfies consistently reach a broad audience and generate numerous “likes,” you might begin to substitute this virtual recognition for actual human interaction. By investing extraneous energy into internet acquaintances, you could even become alienated from family, friends or significant others.

5 Ways Selfies Are Damaging Your Self-Worth

Become a Compulsion—or Even Addiction

For those who exhibit a predisposition toward extremist tendencies or thought patterns, the selfie trend could easily spiral from amusement to addiction. This debilitating reliance on technology and social media outlets can interfere with daily routines, compromising the sufferer’s overall quality of life. In addition, Dr. Veale suggests this unhealthy fixation with capturing the ideal Instagram photo accounts for heightened teen suicide rates. An OCD diagnosis can also increase one’s susceptibility to the selfie addiction.

Give You a False Perception of Reality

By striving for perfection on your own image uploads, while assuming that other selfie-takers look as flawless in person as they appear under airbrushed filters, you’ll adopt deluded, exaggerated and unattainable beauty standards. Those smooth complexions or sculpted abdominals that flood your Instagram feed often require numerous photo attempts, but all you see is that “immaculate” finished product. Consequently, selfies have become—albeit flawed—benchmarks for comparing yourself to people you’ve never met.

Provoke Reckless & Dangerous Behavior

Sometimes, this effort to secure the attention or approval of your social media followers can turn deadly. In fact, USA Today reported that selfie-related fatalities outnumbered shark attack deaths by 50% throughout 2015. Taking drastic measures to achieve that epically staged shot from the most flattering angle can place you in hazardous positions. From wild animal encounters to sporting event interferences to falling accidents, that relentless desire for multiple “likes” and comments often coerces people to take ill-fated risks.

Risks of Selfies

Our culture’s collective mental health depends on bolstering realistic portrayals of beauty in the media––social media included. So, approach this selfie trend as just another form of entertainment, not an arbitrary means of evaluating your physical appearance, popularity status and individual worth.

By Carrie ThompsonEmbed


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