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Selfies — Do They Damage Self-Esteem?


Angle your smartphone, strike a flattering pose, eyes wide, cheekbones sucked in and snap! Hashtag your byline and upload to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Voila, your selfie is visible for all to see! Self portraits, or the selfie, is the hugely popular phenomenon of recent times. The trend made popular by modern icons like Kim Kardashian and Justin Beiber has evolved on a huge level and really came to the public’s attention with Ellen DeGeneres’ photo at the Oscars ceremony. Some selfies are humourous… taken in jest; others support charitable causes, such as the recent cancer awareness selfies.

However, the possible side-effects of this constant self-posing are growing. The message many are sending out is that acceptance by peers is geared on the physical appearance and how a person looks on the outside. The common opinion of many psychologists is that girls or boys who regularly post selfies struggle with low self-esteem. The obsession is to see how many likes or comments a selfie can get. The self-gratification of having people approve a picture seems to be the motivation. It goes hand in hand with the constant updating of statuses on Facebook or the obsession with Tweeting a certain amount of times a day.

It’s often the case that those who seem to be living the life so to speak, are in fact lonely and craving the attention that they only seem to get through social media. The all too common practice is that youths spend more time taking selfies and uploading statuses than they do enjoying their time with friends or at social occasions. The constant craving for attention or acknowledgement from ones peers can lead to an unhealthy obsession.

The selfie phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down. While celebrities fuel the fire with constant pictures, many strive to keep up the appearance of living similar fun-filled lives. All too often, the opposite is the case. Low self-esteem, depression and loneliness can be the reality of those who feel the need to make themselves out to be something they are not.