Social media is greatly influenced and significantly revolves through the use of cellphones and other electronic devices. The internet by far has connected millions of users around the world and has provided a sense of belongingness despite unknowingly meeting anyone personally.
Trends everywhere exists and its social implications on people had created various internet websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other mobile applications.
Dr. Wipulakorn from the Thai Mental Health department believed these behaviors could create problems in the brain later on, especially with those who lack confidence in themselves. The word “selfie” was labeled “Word of the Year 2013” by the Oxford English Dictionary. It is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.
Selfies or self-portraits - A term that took the internet by storm soon to be one of the most popular types of media on social networking sites has allowed photo sharing as one of the leading types of activity on social media.
Although it is considered a right to freedom to be able to express your opinions to others, some of it might seem to affect human behavior seriously especially those who judge other people based on their physical appearances in photos and becoming too critical to emphasize what someone’s moral foundations are just by portraying an image on screen.
Self-love, disgust on body shaming and efforts for self- representation have been some of the main reasons for taking selfies; Associated with positivity especially those who are oppressed and lacks self-esteem, these photos may also relevantly signify women empowerment in today’s age.
Efforts by a lot of people had been redefining the standards of beauty and self-image where such double standards exist in women. Vanity is considered a negative thing which delineates the common perspective that ultimately projects toward reality versus imagery.
The study about Narcissism and selfie-posting behavior: the mediating role of body satisfaction and the moderating role of attitude toward selfie-posting behavior by Yuhui Wang indicated that individuals with high narcissism may have cognitive and affective evaluation about their bodies and also highlights the significance of identifying the mechanisms that moderate the mediated paths between narcissism and selfie-posting behavior.
In an article by Madellyn Esteb from The Odyssey Online, women empowerment is a new symbolical manifestation of selfie which tends to rule out the narcissism behind it. She stated, “Of course, many women find themselves subject to sexist pressures when it comes to selfies – we are expected to present a beautiful, yet confident image while simultaneously somehow being able to navigate extreme criticism if our selfies are perceived as too sexy, “slutty,” or posed. Sometimes even selfies that seem empowering backfire when people make nasty comments regarding a person’s appearance. The internet is very hyper-critical; it seems near impossible that a selfie could counter sexism. Different perspectives on the matter may help to open people's minds.”
Vanity is much more extreme than before which results from contradicting comments people make underlying misogyny and internet shaming which also includes catcalling in terms of online forms of media.
Obsession, Addiction, and Indulgence
|A man constantly looks at his phone using as a mirror. / Photo by: Viacheslav Iakobchuk via 123RF|
According to a study conducted by Sorokowski published on Elsevier, it revealed that women posted more selfies than did men. While links between narcissism and selfie-posting were stronger among men than women.
These types of self- admiration is rampant nowadays which would eventually lead to addiction and other severe mental conditions that affect behavior towards narcissism and other personality attributions.
Another study at the University of Michigan linked high levels of social media activity with narcissism in college-aged and middle-aged adults.
“Among young adult college students, we found that those who scored higher in certain types of narcissism posted more often on Twitter but among middle-aged adults from the general population, narcissists posted more frequent status updates on Facebook. It’s about curating your own image, how you are seen, and also checking on how others respond to this image. Middle-aged adults usually have already formed their social selves, and they use social media to gain approval from those who are already in their social circles.”
One of the few victims of the severe effects of how selfies affect one’s mental health is Danny Bowman.
“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life,” he told The Mirror. Danny Bowman is considered the first in the UK to have a selfie addiction. He has undergone therapy to treat his technology addiction, OCD, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
In his kind of condition, it is not considered a vanity issue but more on mental health. You need to undergo cognitive behavior therapy which allows a person to recognize his behavior and allow modifications to alter his response to compulsion.
The Perfect ‘Selfie’
As means for self-expression, the internet has provided means for people to find ways to counter certain issues such as sexism which corresponds to the fact that we are becoming very critical in terms of our perception with regards to the ‘image’ of others.
At a time when people are becoming more and more disconnected from each other, the natural world, and themselves, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what a true relationship with another person is, how to have meaningful connections, and what it means to be human.
In this age of technology, all we have to know is that personal contact and relationship with others is more vital in fulfilling our needs emotionally and in defining ourselves rather than spending the rest of our time on a smartphone who won’t even hug you back.