When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we first experience self-consciousness. This is the exact moment when an individual becomes aware of himself or herself as an object. What happens next is that we start to compare ourselves to the ideal standards we see on TV and other media outlets. This results in more and more people feeling anxious because they do not feel good about themselves. Ultimately, unattainable beauty standards can have a detrimental effect on people’s mental health. Taking selfies is a modern social phenomenon. While it is usually a lot of fun, it can feed a young person’s obsession with their self-image. Selfies may also lead us to reveal more about ourselves than we intended.
|SEE ALSO: The Social Phobia|
A Selfie: A possible danger
Posing for a selfie – a self-portrait taken with a camera phone – can be quite appealing for many. However, most people are unaware of the possible risks involved. People often take selfies to show off certain activities or places, but rarely consider how much personal information they are sharing, and who they are sharing it with.
Let’s consider some situations where a person might accidentally share information they didn’t intend to by posting selfies on social media, and other risks.
8 Selfie Dangers People Normally Overlook
1 – A Selfie Reveals Your Location
Often the purpose of a selfie is, at least in part, to show off visiting a location or a famous landmark. It’s lots of fun to capture memories when you go on outings. However, posting these photos instantly through social media platforms, such as Instagram, allows anyone who can view your profile to know exactly where you are at that time. This could attract unwanted attention or even help stalkers find your location. This is not likely to be a problem for most people, but there are all sorts of reasons that you might want to keep your location private.
2 – A Selfie Gives Out Personal Information
People often take selfies with friends or celebrities. In this situation you have to consider if the other people in the photograph are happy with it being shared on social media for anyone to see. Sometimes people will be less happy with that than you might expect! Always ask permission from the other people in the photograph before posting it.
3 – A Selfie Shows What People Look Like
Whenever you post a selfie on the Internet, you are not only giving out personal information, you are also letting others know what your friends and family members look like. While this is usually fine, it can give opportunities to identity thieves. Selfies reveal a lot about a person’s physical appearance and other personal descriptions such as clothing and style preferences. All of this information can be useful to an identity thief.
4 – A Selfie Sends the Message that “You Are Not Home”
More often than not, selfies are taken in interesting places away from home. When this is obviously the case, it becomes easier for a criminal to predict the times you are not home. This information can be used it as an opportunity to break into your house. Social media has made life a lot easier for many people including burglars! The wealth of information saves them from a lot of hard work. Again, selfies are usually a lot of fun, but be cautious about the information that you broadcast.
5 – A Selfie Shows Actions People Do
There are all sorts of situation in which people take selfies. For example, someone might take a selfie while out clothes shopping, asking for feedback on an outfit they are trying on. Others like to take selfies at the gym, showing off all the hard work they have put into improving their physical appearance. Whether it is shopping, working out, or anything else, you are telling the world all about your hobbies and interests. Is this information you would like a future employer or collage applications board to know about? It is worth thinking twice before posting selfies.
6 – A Selfie Reveals Others’ Identities
Selfies can be taken with friends, co-workers or even strangers. They can display all the different kinds of relationships you have, perhaps your new romantic interest. You may want to be careful to find out if other people in the photograph are comfortable with it being posted online. Also, if you’re taking a selfie at work and your colleagues have nametags that display their full names, you may be exposing them to identity theft or even blackmailing. Therefore it is better to avoid wearing a nametag whenever you are posing for a selfie.
7 – A Selfie Gives Out Details about Your Family
Selfies with family members can also be an issue. They might think that sharing details about their lifestyles in public could affect the family’s reputation. Sometimes quality time spent with your family is not meant to be shared with everyone online. Even photos that don’t include family members might still affect them. If you are in the family home taking selfies be observant of your surroundings.
8 – Taking a Selfie Can Become Addictive
Some mental health professionals believe that taking selfies can become an obsession, especially for people who suffer from body image disorders. Sometimes people try to tweak their looks by downloading mobile applications for getting the perfect selfie result. This sort of obsession with modifying appearance, alongside unobtainable beauty standards propagated by media and fashion, can eventually lead to some young people seeking plastic surgery.
Taking a Selfie Can Turn Deadly
Sometimes people can take the selfie phenomenon to deadly extremes. A case report shows that a British teenager once attempted suicide after he had failed to find the perfect light and pose for taking a selfie.
Taking selfies can get out of control, but there are some strategies people can follow to avoid being harmed or becoming extremely obsessed with the habit. For those who are taking too many selfies, they might start to think of taking less daily. Also, they ought to consider sharing them with close friends only and not with everyone else. People suffering from selfie-mania could also consider taking pictures of their work achievements rather than just focusing on their physical appearance.
Taking selfies is a lot of fun. However, it is important to not obsess over appearances. This can lead to overlooking other things that really matter. By taking selfies, some people are only looking for the attention and the approval of others. While a little bit of that is fine, it is easy to take it too far. However, if you are going to take part in such trends it is important to consider the implication of what you are putting out into the world. So remember to protect yourself against sharing too much information online.
For a bigger look at the topic, here is an introduction to cyber safety!