We are not totally sure making pictures of self and posting them on social networks can be considered a hobby. However, today we’ll talk about this very phenomenon which recently became an obsession among many Internet users. It may seem an ultimately harmless thing: one just focuses camera on themselves and snaps a picture. Yet, The Telegraph reports, in 2015 selfies took more lives than shark attacks did. Surely, both deaths seem out of this world and don’t happen daily, still deaths from sharks are more reported in the media while ‘deaths by selfie’ do not get a lot of headlines. The problem, however, is present and requires we shed more light onto It — especially with regards to parents.
The cause of popularity
Selfie photos were taken practically since the first days of photography, but became a pervasive phenomenon in early 2010s, as front cameras on smartphones got more advanced and special photo apps like Instagram started to proliferate on the massive scale. In 2012 Time included ‘selfie’ into top 10 trending words of the year.
Selfie enthusiasts are usually young. They are, in fact, competing with their friends on creating the most unconventional selfie. The more interesting, dangerous of magnificent the ‘backdrop’ is, the more excited comments the selfie would get.
What’s the problem?
Average photos don’t impress any more, and people are seeking ways to ‘outselfie’ each other by climbing roofs and towers, standing on bridge parapets or taking photos while sky jumping. Some even attempt to take a selfie with wild animals. In other words, they do a lot of stupid things.
Children and teens run a higher risk of inflicting damage to themselves by taking selfies. They are overly energetic yet have not developed any sense of danger. Moreover, many of them prefer to live an online life and seek ways to raise their self-esteem by trying to convince others their life is interesting, busy, and packed with action.
Unfortunately, sometimes their attempts to take a great selfie end with a tragedy. There is a handful of examples: children fall off bridges and boulders, touch trolley wires, sink in open waters… There is a type of people who take selfies with firearms. In the best-case scenarios, they end up wounded or injuried in a hospital, however, we all have heard of worst-case scenarios as well. There is even a dedicated Wikipedia page covering all selfie-related injuries and deaths.
Tips for parents
First, we will repeat our mantra once again: don’t leave your child on their own on social networks and check their social pages regularly. Also, this is a simple way to learn what your kid is into.
Of course, your child’s love for selfies is not a reason to panic. However, once you spot a photo which presupposes you child had risked his/her safety to make a nice shot, you need to talk to them right away, explain the danger of taking photos in extreme settings, citing some well-publicized examples.
Besides, it makes sense to use software to check your child’s search enquiries from time to time. Some phrases like ‘cool selfie spots’, ‘extreme selfies’ or ‘selfies on the roof of the wagon’ should obviously be of concern for you.
Do not forget the best way to ensure your child is safe is trust and transparency in relationship.