Selfies Are Turning Our Teenagers Into Insecure Narcissists, Says One Psychologist

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BRgEKgSCAAEECcE__1377284360_142.196.156.251I 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.

(photo: Twitter)


  1. Alex Lee

    August 23, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    In the future, it won’t matter what you look like. Everyone will be wearing Google-glass with real-time photoshop enhancement. I, for one, welcome our enhanced-reality overlords.

    Don’t dream it. Be it.

  2. SDA

    August 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I hate selfies. They all look the exact same. And who wants to see a picture of you in the bathroom (like 90% of them are). At least duckface seems to be on its way out, at least in my news feed anyway.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      August 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Ugh, my cousin posts a selfie in the exact same pose almost every day. And I personally think it makes her look like a bobble head doll. Someday I will get sick enough of seeing them to call her out on it.

  3. Rachel Sea

    August 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Maybe I’m biased, because I don’t even own the technology to take selfies, but I think they all look lame and narcissistic. It also says to me, “no one is interested in taking my picture but me,” which is hardly flattering.

  4. lvg

    August 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    My daughter even uses her phone instead of the mirror. Sigh.

  5. Cee

    August 23, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    The other day I went to see the Disneyland fireworks in the center part between Disneyland and California Adventure, you know where the plebs without a ticket can enjoy them. My gf and I were sitting behind these two teenaged girls who alternated their time during the show between taking pictures of the fireworks or of selfies with the fireworks in the background, meaning with their backs to the fireworks. So, they essentially either saw the fireworks through their phone, rather than witnessing what was happening before them live or they were making the same face over and over as fireworks played behind them. #pleaseenjoylife :p

  6. Ginny

    August 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Am I the only fifteen year old girl who takes photographs of cats rather than myself? Jesus, people my age need to grow up and get a hobby. I might be a crazy-cat lady, at least I’m not duckfacing and posing in every darn photograph.

    • Alex Lee

      August 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      I will now endeavor to make the world’s first duckface cat.

      The internet will be mine.

  7. chickadee

    August 24, 2013 at 12:24 am

    The statement about how teens spend a lot of time worrying about how they are perceived? Nothing new, people. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  8. B

    August 25, 2013 at 12:47 am

  9. Magrat

    August 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    “I’m beginning to wonder if kids today do anything else besides stare in a mirror, posing.”

    This has been true for as long as there have been mirrors and a culture that values female beauty over female people. The only difference now is the photos. The concern about bullying and criticism on the internet is valid, but let’s not pretend that teenagers obsessing about their looks is something new.

    Also, we have “kids these days” complaints from ancient Egypt. Either society was unbelievably utopic 4000 years ago, or adults need to get over themselves.

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