The Selfie Craze
H. Brennen, August 23, 2017
have certainly come a long way with modern technology. Who
would have thought that we could hold a phone in our hands
and take our own photos or a group photo and then send them
instantly anywhere around the world on a social media
platform--Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. To take even
more real and beautiful photos of yourself, you can attach a
selfie stick to the phone to extend it away from yourself.
It can also allow you to take photos from unusual positions
and make it look as though someone is taking the photo.
Ann Steele, a marriage and family therapist, writes in an
article entitled, “What Do #Selfies Say about The Psychology
of You?” the following: “Finding fulfillment is one reason
why the selfie has become such a focal point in people's
lives. People take selfies of just about anything and
everything they do in their lives and post pictures on
social media sites where hundreds of people will see them.
Only a couple of decades ago, people with that much exposure
would have been considered celebrities. Many people believe
that this generation is the one that was brought up on the
idea that they are special, that they can achieve
anything.” Wow! That’s positive. Writer Ryan Maher
states that people take selfies because they want to be
loved, accepted, and need connection. Just writing about
this is exciting. However, there is a dark side to all of
As I observe the behavior of people, I notice there are some
who very often are taking selfies, even when I think there
is no need to. Why is this? Recently I came across a
study out of Brigham Young University that revealed three
different reasons people take lots of selfies. Here are the
reasons: “1) To communicate with their friends and family
and engage with them. That could be like taking a selfie
with your “I Voted” sticker to try to motivate other people
to also vote. 2) To record key events in your life and
preserve memories. 3) And to publicize yourself for vain
or narcissistic reasons, like having people see how amazing
your life is.” This last point is a serious one.
Several weeks ago I was in a local eatery waiting for an
order. While I was waiting I noticed a young lady who
walked in, placed her order, then took out her cell phone
and began taking photos of herself right at the cashiers’
counter. At first I thought she was fixing her hair
because she was constantly changing the style. Then I
quickly noticed she had a phone in her hand and
began fixing and fixing and turning and twisting her body
for the best position. For about fifteen minutes she
continued that parade of self-admiration. Then, since her
order was not ready yet, she turned around and walked
outside. Within five minutes she returned and stood in
front of the cashier and continued to admire herself and
taking a barrage of selfies. Why was she doing this?
MENTAL HEALTH AND SELFIES
Stephen Matthews in his online article for October 2016,
states: “Research is now telling us that those who
constantly take pictures of themselves are more likely to be
lonely. It could also be a sign of trouble in their
relationships or mental health problems, experts found.
Constant self-snappers are also more likely to be vain and
attention-seeking too, a study revealed.” Simply put, it
is a demonstration of narcissistic behavior. What is the
meaning of “narcissistic?” The Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM5) states that
the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality
disorder are requiring excessive admiration, having a
grandiose sense of self-importance and a sense of
entitlement. Other criteria include lack of empathy, often
envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
or her, and show arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
Let me caution you. Not everyone who takes a selfie is
narcissistic. It is the excessive,
seemingly-can't-stop-taking craze that is of concern here.
Is there something wrong with loving yourself? Certainly
not. Personal love is an important criterion for a healthy
self-image. However, the extreme self-love that is
demonstrated by the constant taking of selfies is what’s
negative. These people might be crying out for help and
deeply wounded emotionally.
Another selfie craze is the inclusion of unsuspected persons
in the photo. Someone would see an old friend or would
have made acquaintance with a new friend and would want to
take a selfie. I encourage persons not to include other
persons in your selfie without their permission.
Sometimes the one included in the photo is not aware that
the one who is taking the selfie is connected to the
internet and the photo can be circling the globe within a
few seconds. You have the right to say “no, thank you.”
It is frightening though how fast this can happen. A
person can just run up to someone and snap a selfie within a
few second and disappear. Your photo is then published all
over the Internet. Please selfie takers, do not do that.
Always seek permission. If you do get permission, make sure
to explain how the photo will be used. The person might not
have a problem taking the selfie but may not want it placed
on certain social media platforms. Be courteous.
CALL FOR HELP
Dear friend, if you are constantly taking photos of yourself
or having difficulty not to capture a moment in time, you
may need professional help. You may be wounded
emotionally. Call for help today to your nearest
THE GREAT FAMILY SELFIE
As I conclude, I must remind us about the positive side of
selfies. Many families, not able to afford a professional
photographer, are able to capture special moments in their
lives that were not possible decades ago. Because the
phone is so accessible a quick move of the hands can capture
a moment that will bring joy and satisfaction to many in the
future. It can log a memory that was once impossible to do.
I’ve seen so many wonderful family selfies that only could
have happened because someone had a phone and thought
quickly to take a photo.
Remember, be a healthy selfie taker.
Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP, BCCP, a marriage and family
therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist,
USA. Send your questions or comments to
firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box
CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit
www.soencouragement.org or call 242-327-1980.
Photos are from The Morguefile.com professional photo site
with open license.