I don’t know about your children, but my teenage stepdaughter can’t stop taking selfies. It’s not like she’s in the minority, whenever I see a teenager’s social media account it is filled with one self portrait after the next. I’m beginning to wonder if kids today do anything else besides stare in a mirror, posing. Psychologist Dr Jessamy Hibberd believes that this trend may be more damaging than we think.
HIbberd tells the Daily Mail:
The majority of teens post the photos in search of assurance and compliments, but they are also making themselves vulnerable to negative comments and abuse. It’s all about comparison and young people are using social media to measure themselves against others. Comparison happens in every day life, but the problem has been exacerbated by sites like Facebook.
Teens are spending an ungodly amount of time thinking about how they look and how they are perceived. Maybe they are emulating young celebrities whose accounts are filled with self-portraits? Sites like Facebook clearly report how people are responding to the pictures and messages teens share; if they don’t get “likes” they know their images and words are not well received. This may send a teen into a tailspin of comparison and self-doubt.
Teens are already notoriously riddled with self-esteem and body image issues. Add to this an audience of potential Internet bullies, and it is a recipe for disaster. A spokesperson from B-eat, an online resource for teens battling eating disorders, says, “Young children are developing inappropriate self awareness at a much earlier age and this is of great concern. Young people should not have to seek approval from their peers but celebrate who they are inside which is far more important.”
How do we even begin to teach our children that it’s what’s inside that matters, when they are constantly bombarded with images of celebrities and their friends taking gorgeous pictures of themselves and being well-received? The Internet is turning our children into narcissists – constantly searching for approval. We have to work really hard to make sure they are aware that their worth doesn’t have anything to do with how many “likes” they have on Facebook and Instagram, or how good their make-up looks on any given day.