by Graham Pierrepoint
The art of the selfie is one which has been around since photography was easy to come by in the home – and something which has only expanded into its own phenomenon since smartphones and social media have expanded beyond all rationale. These days, you can hardly browse Instagram without someone having taken a particularly pouty or filtered shot of themselves – and while it is always good to try and get a record of your best side or look, there is growing concern that an addiction of sorts to selfying could be very real indeed. If you’re the sort of person whose mobile photo feed contains more pictures of yourself than anything else, you could well be a victim of what’s being touted as a genuine psychological condition.
Selfitis, as it is being termed, was first explored via satire in 2014 – but three years later, researchers are considering whether or not an addiction to taking selfies could be a very real and potentially dangerous condition. Nottingham Trent University’s Dr Mark Griffiths has this week confirmed that studies into the act of habitually taking selfies could point towards genuine mental disorder. “We have now appeared to confirm its existence and developed the world’s first Selfitis Behavior Scale to assess the condition,” he asserts.
Watch: Do You Have Selfitis? ▶
A lengthy study into selfie-taking has found that people may wish to take photos of themselves to increase the feeling of popularity with others, or that they do so to effectively ‘compete’ with their friends on social media. As other studies into social media such as Facebook have found, comparing oneself to others online has become fairly commonplace – and it has had a detrimental effect upon our own respective levels of self-esteem, too.
“Typically, those with the condition suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to fit in with those around them – and may display symptoms similar to other potentially addictive behaviors,” advises Dr Janarthanan Balakrishnan, a researcher. “Now the existence of the condition appears to have been confirmed, it is hoped that further research will be carried out to understand more about how and why people develop this potentially obsessive behaviour, and what can be done to help people who are the most affected.”
Consider the selfies you take – and how you use social media – and whether or not your smartphone habits are helping or hindering your daily routine!