An award for everything, the word “selfie” won last year’s Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.
You see them all over social media.
Kinda cute for the first five minutes but when some people change their profile photo several times a day, it may be indicative of a problem.
In the case of one nineteen-year-old man, his obsession with taking the perfect self-portrait resulted in his snapping two hundred photographs of himself every day in its quest. When his perception of perfection was found unattainable, he was driven to attempt suicide.
It is becoming apparent that the selfie craze is affecting those with a predilection for obsessive-compulsive behaviors and self-image issues, providing an outlet and vehicle for addiction.
The man recognized his addiction and fortunately sought help. His treatment included being separated from his smart phone for ten-minute increments beginning at ten minutes for up to an hour. His experience:
“It was excruciating to begin with but I knew I had to do it if I wanted to go on living.”
Other cognitive behavior modification techniques were applied to allow him to recognize his behavior, its causes, and alter his response to its compulsion. One of the man’s therapists has seen a trend emerge in recent years:
“Danny’s case is particularly extreme but this is a serious problem. It’s not a vanity issue. It’s a mental health one which has an extremely high suicide rate.”
The mental health and self-esteem issues aren’t new but the technology in which to optimally exploit them is. A 2012 study looked into addiction to Facebook with a sample of 423 university students. Subjects were asked to complete questionnaires on their sleep habits and personality traits. The devised self-reporting scale ( very rarely,  rarely,  sometimes,  often  very often) showed correlating levels of addiction:
- You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook.
- You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
- You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
- You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
- You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
- You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.
The scores on the scale dovetailed with reported Facebook activity and high scores were associated with late bed- and rising-times. Further, scores were positively associated to neuroticism and extroversion and negatively correlated with conscientiousness. No surprise there.
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.”
There are two opposing sides to those addicted to social media: narcissism and low self-esteem. One seeks validation and the other acceptance.
A Swedish study found that women spend more time on Facebook than men and the more time they spent, the worse they felt about themselves. It also supports the observation of incidence of addictive behavior. As one writer, a self-proclaimed narcissist put it:
“Facebook doesn’t just enable our predisposition towards narcissism, it encourages it. Flourishes off of it. It’s no longer just about ‘sharing,’ it’s about offering up an online persona, even if it’s been carefully edited, cropped, tugged and pulled beyond recognition. Because the more time we put into all these things, the more time we spend on Facebook.”
Conversely, Twitter could potentially help support people who may be suicidal. With a world-wide support system, people who tweet negative thoughts and feelings are often met with caring souls who offer words of encouragement and strength. One teenager who posted her intentions for killing herself was talked out of it by her followers. So there is real value in developing networks for those without connections closer to home.
Sometimes it’s easier to open up to faceless strangers and be receptive to advice than to turn to someone in person.
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.
It is through true personal human contact that we define ourselves and fulfill our emotional needs. Instead of looking down at an electronic device, maybe we should start looking at each other in real life. A smart phone won’t hug you back.
[mks_toggle title=”sources” state=”close “]
- If You Get a Creeping Feeling in Your Legs at Night, This is What it Means!
“Restless Leg Syndrome” doesn’t sound very scientific, but it’s more descriptive than how it’s otherwise referred: Willis-Ekborn Disease. Restless leg …
- The 5 Best and 5 Worst Foods For Sleep
For many, the secret to getting a good night’s sleep comes down to two things–stress and diet. It’s important to …
- All Positive Reviews: “Becoming a Supple Leopard”
With nearly two months in Amazon’s top 100 fitness bestsellers, Becoming a Supple Leopard is unique to the category in …
- A Tablespoon of This Household Ingredient Is All You Need To Remove Bacteria From Your Food
There are many tips and tricks you need to know to prepare clean, healthy food. Whether you purchase conventional or …
- 9 Plants To Attract Positive Energy In Your Home And Office
Your home is your sanctuary, so why not attract more positive energy in your home? Being surrounded by nature can …
- 10 Reasons To Start Eating Pumpkin Seeds This Fall (Plus 17 Tasty Recipes)
Plants seeds are packed with concentrated nutrients. Pumpkin seeds are no exception. When you scoop out the innards of your …
- Want All the Amazing Benefits of Coconut Oil? Then Make Sure You Buy the RIGHT Kind!
We’ve been hearing a lot about coconut oil lately; whether it’s about the oil’s value in the kitchen or its …
- Two Natural Solutions For Bleeding Gums, Gingivitis, And a Healthy Heart
Researchers from Brazil’s Paraíba State University have determined that extracts of pomegranate and chamomile can help heal bleeding gums. The …
- 10 Little-Known Reasons Why Stress Is More Harmful To Your Body Than You Think
Chronic stress affects us in very real ways, although it can be a hard thing to measure. Often, because stress …
- 8 Beers That You Should Stop Drinking Immediately
Everything in moderation. Take beer, for example. A cold brew on a hot day can be refreshing and a nice …
- 8 Reasons Why You Feel Bloated All The Time (And How To Fix The Problem)
This post first appeared on Darou Wellness.Bloating is one of the most frequent complaints that I hear in my office, …
- How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Dissolve Kidney Stones
Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are small, hard deposits that form inside your kidneys. The stones are made of mineral …
- This Immunologist is a Strong Believer in “The Power of Dirt.” Why? Get Ready to be Mind Blown!
It’s time to put to rest the popular myth that disease is a factor primarily of chance, spurred on by …
- Everyone Has Baking Soda In Their House, But Did You Know It Can Be Used For THIS…
Home remedies are pretty much a hit and miss because everybody reacts differently to certain treatment. Even in the world of …
- Gluten Can Cause Depression, Migraines, Headaches and Other Neurological Disorders, Study Suggests
When you think of wheat, protein is probably not your first association. But did you know that this seemingly healthy …