Smart gadget in the hand, arms go high, a duck-face expression and the moment is captured. The social media, especially the growth of mobile web, has given rise to a strange phenomenon called selfie.

According to the Oxford English dictionary, a selfie is a photograph that one has taken of oneself. But why do people take selfies and upload it to the social networking forums? To get attention from as many people as possible, or to give an instant boost to their self-esteem?

Taking photographs usually by oneself has become a viral activity. Evolution of the smartphone with smart cameras encouraged the growth of selfie culture. It became so prevalent that it became the word of the year in 2013.

To go in depth, this popular selfie culture is now linked to and self obsession and mental esteem disorders. Popular not just among the youngsters, the selfie craze has caught the young at hearts alike. People posts photograph of themselves on the social media in a bid to seek approval and attention. These photographs create an impact more or less on everyone’s life, depending on each individual. Posting photographs to seek approval is normal human nature. But it also has an emotional effect on the individual. If they feel they could not gather enough likes as expected from a certain selfie, they decide to post another. If the subsequent attempts could not gather the expected response, it could lead to lack of confidence and a nervous feeling. Also, the person may get hesitant in public life and may not be happy with their life. Living under such conditions for a long time could lead to mental and emotional disturbance such as jealousy and depression.

One of the modern proofs of narcissistic personality disorder is the rise of selfie. Obsession in taking selfie can be harmful as it can lead to narcissism. Narcissism can be healthy because it can become the roots of improvement, creativity, growth and ambition. Yet, anything that is too much can be morbid. Narcissistic personality disorder is a person’s behaviour in which an individual is being preoccupied about his self-issues and surpassed the healthy way of loving self.

How selfies can go wrong:

1. Doing weird things: Capturing moment of life through selfies are both good and bad

2. Taking risks: Many people do awful things and take selfies that risks their life. Many got killed while taking selfies while driving even while taking the perfect shot near large water bodies.

3. Faking the selfies: Taking a selfie from certain angles and then photo edit them to enhance the appearance, camouflage the defects and special effects.

How to avoid the selfie trap:

1. Ask self why you are taking the photo: Pausing to think about the purpose of getting clicked can be a way of checking that.

2. Enjoy the moment: Do not waste the beautiful moment by getting busy over the perfect selfie. Try to live there and make memories in mind.

3. Being aware of social exploitation: Regardless of the privacy settings, the posted picture could be seen by anyone. So reminding oneself that the social sites are public forum is important.

To some extent the notion of having control over getting selfies is quite fractious. Once a selfie is posted online, it is out there for public declaration. It can get exploited, manipulated. The truth that could create bitter changes in life: Once exposed, no one can have control over it; neither the perception of the people towards it can be changed.

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About Maria Choudhury


Maria Choudhury is a research scholar of psychology at Gauhati University in Guwahati.


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