If you are just becoming acquainted with or comfortable with the term “selfie,” it appears you may be already behind the times. People everywhere have become accustomed to taking pictures of themselves. Selfies have become a popular trend in social media outlets everywhere. Today, social media has taken selfies to a whole new level. Now there are many different plays on the word–encouraging social media users to post variations–which can all too often become inappropriate. So what is a Belfie ?
That’s nasty! RT @mphogafeni: From selfies to belfiesi rather weird trend to develop yazi!( Belfie self taken pic of you butt)
— #myblackisbeautiful (@mrs_heiney) May 25, 2014
What is a Belfie? Urbandictionary.com defines a belfie as, ” a ‘bottom selfie ‘ – a photographic self-portrait featuring the buttocks, usually posted by female celebrities on social media networks.” Belfies are posted a number of different ways, but the most popular are:
Many celebrities have started a trend of taking photos of themselves doing squats or using a stair stepping machine. These women are usually fully dressed in spandex pants–with a fully accentuated back side. Jen Setler started this trend (though she posts other kinds of belfies as well) as a way to “inspire” according to VanityFair.com.
- Bathing Suits
One or two piece does not matter, taking pictures of the backside in a bathing suit is trending.
- Nude/Nearly Nude Bottom
Women bare all, on the bottom at least. These pictures are taken in g-string underwear or none. Some women wear short dresses or shirts that hit just above the backside, others will wear next to nothing from top to bottom. Belfies have become popular thanks to female celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Kylie Minogue and more. and according to the Huffington Post.
Not All Belfies are Created Equal
There are a number of reasons that teens (usually girls) will take and post belfies. Some girls are eager to share results from a fitness challenge while others have more promiscuous motivations. Either way, it is important to note that almost all are seeking attention in one form or another. These kinds of posts are a way of letting you know that your teen is seeking approval.
The Dangers of Belfies
Your teen may think s/he is just being funny when posting a belfie. Maybe s/he truly is just showing off during a workout at the gym. The danger here is the social media relationship with belfies. Once a picture is taken there are two possible dangers:
If a picture is posted with a hast tag (#belfie), it can be found by anyone anywhere looking for pictures like this. Different kinds of people would search that hashtag for different reasons, but it’s clear that some would do it with inappropriate intent. You do not want your teen attracting the wrong kind of attention.
- Pictures Spread Fast
While there are a number of social media channels out there, many of them can be linked and therefore, the pictures spread faster and have far-reaching effects. If your teen’s picture ends up in the wrong hands it could be dangerous in terms of cyber bullying. It can also be dangerous for people of all ages to have access to pictures like this–as they are often times perceived as suggestive.
- Online Reputation
Regardless of where your teen posted the picture, it is highly likely that picture could be discovered with a quick search of your teen’s name. Pictures like these will help create a reputation that will supersede the belfie trend.
- Seeking Approval
If your teen is posting these pictures, the feedback could be dangerous in two ways. There is always the risk of negative feedback and cruel remarks. This kind of feedback can be damaging to a teen’s (already vulnerable) self image. An even greater risk, though, is that of positive feedback. There are many good people on the internet, but there are ill-intentioned people in abundance as well. There may be internet predators that are hoping to chat or even meet your teen. Young women (and sometimes men) seeking attention, may be tempted to pursue a meeting.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe
Whether you are worried about your teen taking and posting belfies, or you are worried about your teen seeing these kinds of photos, abc7chicago.com shares some precautions you can (and should) take.
- Encourage Private Accounts
Keeping accounts private as a requirement at home may discourage this kind of behavior as there are limits to who will see them. If your teen is limited to family members and close friends, there is less temptation to post inappropriately. It will also protect any of your teen’s photos from spreading too far. Discuss and come up with expectations for those they allow to follow them on social media. Limiting the number of followers by setting high standards will help encourage appropriate postings as well as protect your child.
- Be Aware of Privacy Settings
Familiarize yourself with all social media outlets and their privacy settings. Teach your child how to block inappropriate users. There are features that are dangerous on different social media channels. Instagram, for instance, has a location feature that is shown with each picture. Your child could be sharing with the world (quite literally) where s/he was when the picture was taken. Strangers then have access to home addresses, schools, or gyms. Regularly monitor these settings and make sure your teen’s accounts are as secure as possible.
- Teach them to Think Twice
Teach your teen about privacy settings as well. It is important to become educated and then share that education with your teen regarding each social media outlet. Teens often don’t fear the long-term effects of sharing images on the internet, but the threat is real. Many people believe that images shared on SnapChat are quickly deleted. Safekids.com warns about the dangers of thinking that way. Images can still be saved to a device or even undeleted. It’s best not to share things you won’t want sticking around for the next five minutes to the next five years.
Teens learn to think critically when viewing television shows and when reading novels or newspapers. The online world is part of our daily lives and it is important to teach teens to use critical thinking skills when approaching it advises cyfernet.org. Teach them to think twice before posting by asking themselves “Would I be okay if my boss or grandparent saw this post?”
The New York Public Library posted an article and suggested that if teens want to share images on social media, they should get parent permission first. This is another great approach to protecting your teen and his/her reputation.
- Pay Attention
A great way to stay aware of what your child is posting on social media is to create your own profile and follow them. This should be an agreement that the two of you have. Use your access to you teen’s account as a viewer to your advantage. Take time to see what posts your teen comments or “likes” as well as what s/he posts recommends cyfernet.org. Be fair to your teen and allow him/her to set boundaries for you as well. For example, s/he may not want you “liking” all of their posts.
It would be unwise to overlook the reason behind the belfie in the first place. Try to put yourself in your son/daughter’s shoes and figure out what s/he really needs. Find alternative ways to meet those needs. Get him/her involved in more extracurricular activities, cut back on work so you can be home more, or find ways to build self-esteem.
- Set Firm Rules
It is smart (not intrusive) to get passwords for electronic devices. Use those passwords to monitor the safety settings and whether or not your child is using them. View their followers and the people they are following.
Monitor computer and mobile device usage with parent-friendly software programs. Not only can these programs help block inappropriate images, but they can help monitor and prevent inappropriate communication on the device as well.
It’s best to instill values in your children and help them understand how and why to stay safe on the internet. They will feel trusted and will often want to keep that trust.
Make sure your teen knows the expectations for using mobile devices, computers, and social media. Set firm boundaries about what you expect and make the consequences clear.
New trends in social media come quickly and often leave just as fast. Most teens just want to take part in the newest trends. Tread carefully when discussing these issues with teens to avoid resistence. Take their thoughts into consideration and explain the reasons behind your expectations.
We all recognize that selfies are quite common now on social media, particularly on networks such as Instagram. According to this research from beverlyhillsplasticsurgery.center, there are over 41 Million images tagged “Selfie” on the web. With such staggering volumes of Selfies being taken, it comes as no surprise that plastic surgeries are also on the rise.
An unintended consequence of putting ourselves out there, it appears some of us really are drawn to plastic surgery as a means of improving our “social brand”.
Dr. Niki A Christopoulos from Advocate Medical Group is mentions “As selfies and social acceptance for cosmetic procedures rise, so does demand by younger patients.”
According to a recent report from the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) states that more than 50% of their members are seeing a significant rise in new patients under the age of 30.
Typically, that may involve a nose job or other facial enhancements. This modern trend is driven by our obsession with our smartphones & social media (explore below).