Selfies: A Tragic Waste of Engagement

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Dr. Shubhnandan S. Jamwal

It is seen that almost all internet users have landed up for a selfie at some point of time on the social media. Though people were fond of taking photographs of their own for many decades, but selfie camera has led to an extreme effect. The posting of these selfie photographs on social media and comments on these resulted in chain reactions. Over a period of time, technological advancement gave us new addiction disorders, the last two decades were known for computer addiction and internet addiction disorders. There are apps and social networking sites, like Snapchat and Instagram which have long allowed people to apply filters and adjust contrast and brightness but selfie editing apps BeautyPlus Me, Lumyer, Retrica and PicsArt go a step further by enabling users to play around with their feature and figure in order to fit into the current beauty paradigm. The smartphone has intruded in our daily life so much that without we cannot survive. Many of today generation Smartphone is equipped with high resolution camera, we call it ‘selfie’ camera.
As per the psychologist’s belief, logging more than two times to see the comments of the people may be considered as a disease. During the corona times the digital media has become an integral part of the life of teens and in their zeal to keep their social media profiles cool, frequent selfies and posting them on social media platforms have become an obsession. The obsession of selfies seems harmless, but it can have adverse effects on their self-esteem and even health. On the basis of expectations of the people’s comments, people are logging many times to their social media accounts to see the type of reactions to the selfies posted by them. The American Psychiatrist Association call it as ‘self-righteous behavior’ and considers it as a genuine mental ‘illness’. On the other hand, if we try to see the reality of the social media, most of the people will be astonished to learn that, according to the recent statistics by Martin Armstrong, 16% of Facebook accounts are fake or duplicate. In simple words it means that, 412 million user profiles on the largest social media platform are fake or duplicate, but the exact amount of the fake accounts will never be revealed by any company. It is also believed that typically, those people that suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to fit in with the surroundings of the artificial environment are more use to this behavior.
Social media networks have attracted worldwide attention because a social media platform has potential to address millions of users. Companies are simply rating their products on the basis of likes and comments and are also exploring possible future customers on the social media. On the other dark side of the social media, Dr. Roshan Jain, Consultant Psychiatrist at Apollo Hospitals has said that ‘Many parents are complaining of rising level of addiction to selfies among youth, especially teenagers. This condition of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) of clicking selfies is widely known as ‘selfitis’. Teens have a tendency to build their identity and to gain an identity and status in society, they follow what the gathering is doing. Selfie-users also use selfie as a way to capture moments of enjoyment. If a selfie-user gets any pleasure, he will continue to do the same and in the end, this habit will lead to selfie addicted behavior.
American Psychiatric Association has confirmed that taking of ‘selfies’ as a new mental disorder and is associated with grandiosity, narcissism, and body dysmorphic disorder. It has also been observed that people with selfitis feel compelled to continue post their pictures online. A Common Sense Media Report also found that teen girls worry more about how they are perceived online, how they look in photos they have posted, while majority of them feel worse about themselves when hit by ignorance. The person considers the selfie taking as a pleasurable activity. Most teens and young people are adherents to personal images because through this process they get a kind of fun. In the end, the first and foremost question is, “does it fit into the criteria of addiction?” The answer can be yes, because it leads to chain of reactions that fits in the criteria of addiction. The answer can be also be no as there is no proper definition or any diagnostics of this addiction. It has also become an interesting topic for researchers and it was observed the rate of use of selfies has increased by 17,000%.

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