The urbandictionary defines a Selfie as: ‘A picture taken of yourself and uploaded to Facebook, or other social media sites. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera. A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy or duck face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera’.
It has become the ubiquitous signature pic of today’s teen. But why?
In an article on mashable, Andrea Letamendi, a Doctor of Psychology at UCLA says that the opinion of others is an integral part of our identity development. The Snow White “looking-glass self” is a psychological concept that suggests we develop our sense of self based on the perceptions of those we interact with. Teens in particular, seek the validation of other teens to establish a sense of identity.
In our day ‘those we interact(ed) with’ were limited to a few. Their ability to give an opinion was equally limited in terms of opportunity and place.
With Social Media platforms, Friends and/or Followers in their hundreds, and sometimes thousands have the ease of the ‘Like, Comment, or Share’ tools to register their perception of your teen’s self as often as they like, at any time they like, in conjunction with and in front of others.
They also perhaps more importantly have the power to NOT ‘Like’ or just ignore a ‘Selfie’ and this can crush self esteem yet teens continue put themselves ‘out there’ hoping to be endorsed by their peers. The overwhelming need to fit in at this stage; to be liked, to be approved of, supersedes any self protective instincts at this age.
As says Dr. Letamendi says, ‘Now that we can interact with hundreds — no, thousands — of people simultaneously, we’ve strengthened the impact that others have on our self-value.’
A conversation to be had with your teen…….