Where it all Began
In 2005 the first selfie was posted to MySpace. Since then, the now-popular arm’s-length smartphone self-portrait photograph, shared on social networks has taken off in a VERY big way. In fact, even the Oxford English Dictionary decided to give selfies a “Like” and added the term to their 2013 edition. That’s a sure sign the selfie has arrived and is here to stay. The use of the term “#selfie” has blossomed 200% since the trend officially began in 2013.
Just the Facts
It’s a fact that young people take a lot of pictures.So it’s not a surprise that 1/3 of all the photos taken by young people are actually selfies. And 91% of all teenagers have reported to have taken selfies. With a million a day being taken, that’s a LOT of selfies! So all signs point to this trend not going away. In fact, everyone else is doing it, too! A whopping 58% of men and yet only 52% of women have fessed up to taking a selfie. Everywhere you look, selfies are being snapped!
Sure, studies have shown that our selfie culture uses other apps than Facebook (48%), it’s still number one for selfie postings. Other sites popular for selfie posting with a huge following are What’s App or just plain Texting at 27%. Pinterest users only post 2% of selfies, and SnapChat – the app that is probably made for selfie sharing only uses them for 5% of all their correspondence. Instagram’s 8% and Twitter’s 9% seem tiny in comparison to Facebook’s 48% use of selfies.
What do Selfies Say about us:
What’s important is this: Not all selfies are created equal. There is controversy around them and their popularity. Some critics don’t think they are a positive growing trend. Let’s take a deeper look.
With a whopping 78% of all college girls using Snapchat to share their selfies – that’s the site where they disappear in a matter of minutes after the viewer opens them, it all sounds rather innocent, right? Sure. Some experts say that selfies empower the subject and give them good feelings about themselves. But there are others who would argue that they promote narcissism and self-obsession.
While validation and positive feedback are never guaranteed – even with 37% of boys and 13% of girls retouching their pics before posting, not all selfies are actually purposefully sexual. But they sure can grab a response from viewers! Only 25% of all selfie takers meant them to be sexy, with 27% of men’s sexy selfies were intentional and 23% of women’s hoping to attract a beau.
And of course it’s not surprising that the regret level of people who send the sexy selfies is 36%. To further the controversy, two-thirds of people diagnosed with body image disorders take selfies obsessively. Experts may say that all this selfie preoccupation can indicate a real lack of confidence that can lead to further troubles.
Although the craze is internet based, they certainly can have a damaging effect on human relationships in real-time, too. Troubles arise with marriage and dating relationships, for parents of small children and of course, in people’s work relationships.
Handle with Care
Selfies are widely used, sometimes useful, possibly also quite scary, too. Parents of teenagers should definitely be wary, educate themselves and talk about the possible dangers of selfies with their kids. There are measures that parents can take to keep their kids safe – but only to a point. We are truly living in the age of technology. It takes a bit more effort to know about the ramifications and the warning signs. But it’s worth it to have the communications open and our guard up.