“It’s not what you are that is holding you back. It’s what you think you are not.” ~ Anonymous
Just like the Chainsmokers said,“But first, lemme take a selfie.” The self-portrait mode of photography that is usually taken with a smartphone has steadily grown in popularity. With the establishment of MySpace in 2003, taking selfies became common. Now, other social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat familiarized the world with selfies.
For too many, selfies are connected to people’s self-esteem. According to a report by Statista, 82% of the U.S. population that takes selfies and uploads it to a social media platform are between the ages of 18 and 34. With the steady increase of technology and children getting cell phones, the idea of presenting the perfect image impacts kids in middle school and beyond, affecting millions of young people.
Positive Effects of Selfies
Negative Effects of Social Media
Selfies Effect on Self-Esteem
A study from the University of California, Irvine, reported that taking tons of selfies can boost one’s self-confidence. Computer scientists there discovered that taking selfies and sharing them with friends can make a person happier. Taking a healthy and average amount of selfies allows teens to feel empowered. The setback is when teenagers take selfies for the purpose of comparing oneself with others. On social media, teens are subjected to extravagant images of models and influencers which can subconsciously affect their self-esteem and negatively impact the way teens view their body.
With one touch, teenagers can change their eye color to a lighter shade, their skin tone to a darker one, or even slim down their nose using certain apps. This illustrates the fact that many teens do not embrace their natural beauty and feel the need to look more “appealing” to others. A 2018 study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that 43% of teens feel pressure to post content that makes them look good to others. Moreover, 37% feel pressure to post content that will get a lot of “likes” and comments.
It is important to talk to your child about maintaining an authentic aspect of their identity on social media. Social media sites should be a place for enjoyment and interactions among their peers. Their posts should include aspects of their lives that are positive and reflect who they are as people, not content that they think would please or impress others.
Encourage breaks from social media so that your child doesn’t become too attached. If they attend an event or gathering, tell them to stop, take it all in, and enjoy the moment before posting something. They should be mindful of how much time they are spending on their accounts, which could help minimize comparison to others.