28 February 2018
How many selfies do you post a day? A week? How many do your children or young family members?
Psychologists are today warning that there is now a genuine mental condition – Selfitis, the obsessive need to post selfies.
Whilst it would be easy to dismiss this as a ludicrous trend from Millennials and Generation Z, it is in fact an incredibly dangerous side effect of social media with some people posting up to 200 a day. Imagine the pressure of trying to look photo-ready all day, every day to post selfies! That pressure must become debilitating.
That’s a huge amount of energy that these people are investing into taking photographs of themselves that could be put to real value elsewhere in their lives. How many hours do people with ‘Selfitis’ invest in their appearance and searching for likes on social platforms?
It’s no wonder that Selfitis has become an issue
The way we use social media, and the way we’re manipulated to use it, is incredibly dangerous. Each like and positive comment releases a hit of dopamine – that’s a happy chemical that our brains release to make us feel good. It’s an addictive process. We need to maintain those likes to keep getting that hit of happy hormones. Equally, the drag down function to refresh the feed mimics the arcade games: pull down the screen, wait for it load and see if you’ve ‘won’ more likes. Encouraging competition between young people for Snapchat streaks takes this a step further.
It’s certainly not healthy to have a constant need for validation by posting photographs and receiving likes. Yet these sites are teaching users, especially young people, that this is what is valuable. Self-worth is fast becoming dependent on social media likes.
We urgently need a shift in perception of what is actually valuable. This energy could be far better invested in doing something important, in taking some exercise, getting some fresh air and doing something that really benefits that person’s wellbeing.