Why Do You Take Selfies And How To Avoid It Going Wrong

How taking selfies can go wrong and ways to avoid selfie addiction

- | 51 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Self Improvement

Image of a girl taking a selfie with the caption are you addicted to selfies

“Hey, wait! Let’s take a selfie,” shouted my daughter, as we entered the movie hall. I hesitated a bit but then succumbed to the selfie-craze of the youngster.

Does this happen with you too? Are your kids obsessed or fascinated about taking selfies? Or probably you yourself love clicking selfies in private or public?

Are you sure you or your kids are not selfie addicts? If no, then please know that it is possible to overcome selfie addiction.

The selfie-culture has indeed enveloped people of all ages in its fancy.

You will find celebrities, politicians, sports stars, and even religious leaders posing for and posting their selfies on the Internet.

It all seems so harmless, and it IS for most people. Usually, we just indulge in taking selfies for the sake of following trends that are popular and do what is accepted as a norm by all.

Some people take selfies because they lack some personal qualities or aren’t really happy inside, and risk getting obsessed with it and even get hurt.

Do you know that selfie addiction sometimes makes people do wild things and go over the edge?

This news report says that if you are addicted to posting selfies then you may be selfish or a psychopath! However, I would not really sound that kind of an alarm if you seldom take and post a selfie.

But it is true that the weird behavior and practice of taking selfies have led to many deaths.

Even if you are not going that far, just being habitual of taking selfies many times a day itself is enough to disturb your personal, social, and professional life.

You may risk yourself becoming a narcissist and self-centered.

Numerous reasons and thoughts crossed my mind standing there during the selfie session in the movie hall.

I forcibly tried to smile at the smartphone hanging in the air, clasped in my daughter’s far stretched hand.

As the group selfie was clicked, I folded my artificial grin within my lips and shot back a quizzed face.

“What’s wrong in taking a selfie?” asked my daughter in an irritated voice that had an element of surprise and looked at me as if I came from the medieval ages!

I stopped and thought for a moment. There is really nothing wrong in clicking a few occasional selfies.

These can be stored as memories in our online albums and phones, as we don’t use cameras all that much nowadays.

In fact, selfies are an age-old phenomenon. Let me explain.

What is a selfie: It is defined as a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. According to Wikipedia, a selfie is a self-portrait photograph or group photograph featuring the photographer, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone.

The History Of Selfie

One of the earliest accounts of selfies are the self-portraits by famous painters like Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Paul Gauguin, and many others of the medieval age, which is the 14th to 17th-century period.

Self portraits or selfies of famous painters

That was the age of renaissance in Europe. Is the history repeating itself and the present selfie culture too becoming a hallmark of modern renaissance?

Well, don’t know about that but I know that the Renaissance artists used self-portraits for self-promotion, to advertise their skills and to capture the lifestyle of their era.

That is what people do with selfies today.

  • Celebrities like Kim Kardashian use it to promote themselves among their fans and for fun.
  • Politicians like Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, use it for popularity, to connect with the young selfie generation, and as part of their publicity strategy.
  • The general public, including my daughter, loves to capture the moment of life with a selfie.

The earliest selfies or photo portraits, as they are better known as, were taken in the late 19th century.

With technological advances in the early 20th century, the photographic self-portraiture became more common and widespread.

World's first selfie taken of a man

First known selfie, taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839

The word “Selfie” came into being in the early 2000s, but these were not the kind of selfies that really took the world by storm in 2013.

The early social networking site MySpace started the trend of Internet selfies in 2006 and later the trend got picked up on smartphones, as they improved in design and technology.

The year 2010 was a turning point as the present day selfies started becoming popular with the youngsters and “Selfie” became a top buzzword by 2012.

It was popular as the “girl selfie” initially, but soon adults and men too were gripped with the selfie fiver.

What Makes A Selfie Different

A selfie is not a photo portrait. Here are the characteristics of a selfie:

  • It is not taken by a second or third person
  • The photographer is herself or himself present in the photo
  • The camera or phone camera is generally held at an arm’s length (if not using the selfie stick)
  • Usually, a selfie shot is taken from a high angle, or the selfie-taker shows the left cheek
  • Selfies are mostly shared on social media or through other features like WhatsApp to other smartphone owners
Group selfie taken by Ellen Degeneres and other Hollywood actors

Famous Hollywood group selfie clicked at the Oscars

What makes selfies different is that they eliminate the need of an outsider to click your photo for you.

I hope you recollect the numerous occasions when you asked some stranger to take your photo with your camera, especially when you tour out alone or with your friends and family.

The same problem is now solved by taking a selfie or even a wefie and groupfie! Selfie sticks are prevalent now so that you do not have to call upon any stranger to do you a favor.

The biggest advantage of a selfie is that you can present yourself as you want, click the photo any time you want, and make yourself believe that you look the best. 🙂

Why People Take Selfies

This is a very important question. What’s so special about selfies? Why does it charm you so much?

As mentioned earlier, in the Renaissance era, it was only the wealthy that got their self-portraits painted to show their status and feel good about themselves. It was the way to go for the wealthy.

Basically, it was to satisfy their ego.

Why do we do things that are primarily to show others? It gives us pride.

Pride within limits gives a feeling of self-respect and personal worth. Sometimes you like to show off your achievements, and share your happiness.

Taking a selfie gives you a good feeling. You may also want to have fun just clicking selfies or use it as your style statement.

But soon and for some, taking selfies becomes a regular affair and a habit of gratification. This gradually leads to obsession.

People start looking for validation and become dependent on them. They literally throw their reins in other people’s hands.

There are people who become selfie addicts. In fact, there are some sites that report selfie addiction as termed by doctors and psychiatrists to be one of the latest mental disorders or illnesses.

A term “Selfitis” is quite popular on the Internet claimed to be coined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). However, it is incorrect. APA has not defined anything like “Selfitis” and it is not included as one of the mental disorders or illnesses. But, it is true that taking selfies does become an addiction if not dealt with properly and leads to harmful results.

Don’t worry – not every selfie taker is an addict. We also take selfies because it is now so easy and so accessible.

However, the point to note is that there are many more things of the same nature – that is, easy and accessible, yet we choose “taking selfies” out of them.

So, this means it has something to do with your “Self” that you are so easily and quickly attracted to it.

An image with many boys and girls taking selfies with their smartphones

15 Reasons Why You Take Selfies And How They Can Go Wrong

Pride or vanity is not always the reason to take a selfie. Sometimes, it is just as natural as calling somebody on your mobile. Or simply put, just an activity – perhaps to have fun.

It’s all about the choices you make that define whether you are a selfie addict or not.

Here are some okay and not-so-okay reasons why you may take selfies.

1) You want to record your life

You want to capture every moment of your life as far as possible, and share it with others. This may include your private moments and life, or special occasions.

It goes wrong only if you cross the limits and start taking selfies of your private and intimate moments and start posting them on the social media or report minute-to-minute personal activities. People generally do not care nor like it, and you may even regret them later.

2) You want monuments for memory’s sake

You visit new places and want to take your snap with the buildings or popular structures as a proof of your visit, just as we used to do with the old-fashioned cameras.

There is nothing wrong if you want to take a selfie with the Eiffel Tower in the background. What is of concern is posting them all for public consumption and then await validation. It also raises your privacy and security concerns.

3) You want people to know you met someone special

I bet you will not like to miss a chance to take a snap with a popular celebrity. You cannot wait to tell everybody that you did something, not everybody got to do!

Even I might do this if I’m with Barrack Obama and I have a mobile in my hand because you can’t call a photographer unless the meeting is preplanned. And I might share it also. But taking and posting selfies with just everyone you meet is a bit too much. People may even befriend you for such frequent postings.

4) You are bored, and you just want to pass the time

You have got nothing to do, so taking selfies becomes a pass time activity, and you start using your creative brain and ideas to make best use of the time.

This depends on person to person. I’d probably not make that choice and I have better alternatives to taking selfies, like pursuing hobbies or practicing mindfulness. It can be risky if taking selfies become your regular pass time activity. You start killing time, which is the most valuable resource that you have.

5) You want to project yourself in a certain way

You do not like the way you are or you want to create a different persona of yourself, so people start liking you. You shoot your best face angels with different filters to show you are pretty and happy.

It can go wrong as you are trying to fake yourself. You also seek validation and are not happy with your real self. This can increase your unhappiness quotient in the long run. Instead of developing confidence in yourself, you depend on your selfies for it. You need to learn to be yourself.

6) You feel low and want people to lift up your spirits

You feel depressed or feel the need of sympathy or motivating words from your fans and followers on the social media. You also try to regain self-worth and self-confidence.

This seems so harmless but not all that necessary. The better options are to seek help of your friends, peers, family, or experts like a counselor. Looking for sympathy may set you on the wrong track and make you vulnerable and weak.

7) You want to seek attention online

You probably try your best ways to take a selfie and post it online to get likes, shares, and recognition because you do not get that in your offline life.

Everybody likes attention. But this way you will end up wasting your time and drift from reality. Wouldn’t it be a better alternative if you seek attention on the good work that you do and improve yourself and your offline relationships so people start liking you? 

8) You crave appreciation

Nobody at home tells you that you look beautiful or pretty, so you resort to the online medium. You fulfill your needs with the reactions of the online fraternity.

You can fall for the fake appreciation trap. You need to realize that most people like you for who you are and not how you look. It’s better to find out why people do not appreciate you and improve on those factors, rather than look for pseudo-appreciation.

9) You just follow people

There is no special reason for you to take selfies, but you do it because others, especially your friends, are doing it, and you do not want to be left out.

Yes, this is somewhat true especially for the teenage phase. However, you can make efforts to develop your own identity and principles. You don’t always have to do what others are doing. You may end up doing things that you really do not want to do.

10) You just want to be a part of something

You want to associate with things that are happening in the now. It is the equivalent of being in the moment and with the times to you.

There is nothing wrong in doing so, as far as it does not have any negative repercussions. You need to develop your own guidance system and follow what is right and within limits. Not all trends may be good for you.

11) You love yourself

Self-love is not bad. However, you love your looks so much that you keep taking selfies and sharing it with people. You like it as it boosts your ego.

It can go wrong and turn you into a narcissist. You should be happy about your looks and use that in conjunction with your good personality and good nature to win hearts, and not through selfies.

12) You are confused and look for an identity

You feel you are many things, or you may also feel like nothing. You click and post various selfies to create an identity and seek feedback.

Some people pass through such a phase in life. But don’t use selfies and validation to create an identity for you. Instead, work on your personal, social, and professional aspects of life to do so.

13) You just do it for fun

There is no other specific reason but to have fun with your selfies. You want others to have fun as well, especially when it is group selfie.

There is nothing wrong in taking harmless selfies for fun. It might be good to capture some light moments in life. But as a rule of thumb, avoid going beyond limits, or things can go wrong. People tried clicking selfies with loaded gun and got killed!

14) You just want to connect with people

You feel the visual medium is best to make new connections and to communicate with your existing contacts. A picture can express more than a thousand words.

Of course, visual communication is more effective. Video chats are good and best online alternative. However, too many selfies might be counterproductive in making connections – it may act as deterrent in developing relationships!

15) You want to beat the competition

Your friend, colleague, or enemy posts selfies and you either want to beat, challenge or surpass them. You want to show that you are better and the best.

Do selfies define you? Do you think wasting your time or risking your life is worth the competition? You can try to be different and use your time and effort in doing something constructive, which will make you popular and successful for real and long time. Don’t be  part of the rat-race and risk your life for a few moments of fame.

Well, different people have different reasons to take selfies.

I cannot write them all, but you may want to read this NYTimes news article about selfie that seeks the feedback of readers on their views and experiences with selfies.

You may not agree with all that I wrote, but I hope you agree that one needs to honor limits, exercise moderation, and try better alternatives.

How Taking Selfies Can Get You Addicted And Cause Harm

Let me make this clear that I’m not against the selfie culture. I agree that taking a selfie is the latest fad that everybody seems to follow. It is okay to indulge and take a selfie occasionally.

After all, we are humans, and we like to be social or even like to feed on appreciation and flattery.

However, if you self-indulge excessively, then it is not normal. Excessive selfies coupled with positive feedback could get you hooked on to this behavior.

Here are how selfies can go wrong:

1) Doing Weird Things

You try to capture every moment of your life through selfies – both good and the bad.

You even take selfies when you are sleeping, in the bathroom, while driving, or even when someone dies.

This is a sign that the good selfie habit has become a bit too much, don’t you think so? Would you believe some people take a selfie with the dead body of their loved ones?

Recently, it was in the news that a lady found an intruder in her bed. But before calling the police, she preferred to click a selfie with the sleeping stranger.

You want to be in the news, right? You want to be the talk-of-the-day and be the one who did something different.

You want to take a selfie that gets you many likes, shares, and comments on the social media.

However, your weird selfies can cause you embarrassment and loss of reputation.

2) Taking Risks

Many people do awful things and take selfies that risks their life. Many have got killed because they were trying to take a selfie while driving.

You would say why in the world they would do that. This is not all – there have even been airplane crashes because the pilot was busy clicking a selfie!

Now, isn’t that the height of taking a selfie! Eventually, you plummet and perish.

People have died after falling from a high-rise because they were trying to take a unique selfie.

Some people just do anything and don’t think twice for gaining quick popularity – all for a few seconds of fame.

Well, these people did get framed into history by getting a mention in this post – but at what cost!

To what extent would you go for appreciation, attentions, fame, and popularity?

3) Faking The Selfies

You take a selfie from certain angles and then photo-edit them to enhance its appearance, camouflage the defects, and add special effects.

You take several selfies before selecting one and then share calling it a spontaneous selfie!

You take pre-planned selfies and then mislead people by telling them a lie – stop faking selfies.

What you also do is fake your identity and project yourself as someone that you are not in reality.

Gradually, you fall in love with your selfie-personality, which later leads to big identity crisis.

If you always click selfies with pretty angles and cute smiles, you are fooling others. That is not your true self. This is about surrounding yourself in an air of false pride.

Moreover, you are just focusing on your physical self. There is more to you than just a pretty face and a cute smile.

What about your inner self and making your life better with self-improvement?

Well, here are some more reasons why selfie addiction can do more harm than good. This post lists some identity and privacy issues of taking and posting a selfie that you probably never thought of before.

Okay, enough of serious talk. Here is a fun video about selfie addiction. 🙂

(Selfie Addiction Center ~ YouTube Video)

Finally, who will want you to keep taking selfies – there will always be some people who will encourage you to take more selfies:

The smartphone and the selfie stick makers come out with models designed especially for selfies and groupfies.

The social networks or some websites also because the more you post selfies on their site, the more they benefit.

And your selfie-taking friends – they would want you to be one of them and mutually exchange selfies.

However, if you really want to know the reason you are addicted to selfies, you need to look deeper into yourself.

At the base of all things, it could be either the lack of love, acceptance, attention, self-esteem, or confidence in yourself and in your life that sets you to seek it through selfies.

You really need to accept yourself as you are and try to improve to the best of your abilities.

I’m sure if you found your hidden abilities and pursued hobbies or careers of your interest, you would have little time for taking selfies.

So, get busy with work!

Let me wrap up this post with a poll. Here is the question – Are you a selfie addict?

[polldaddy poll=8918330]

I hope you were honest taking the poll. Do check the results and know where you stand.  🙂

Here is wishing you all the best to take the best selfie of your life, which is the selfie of your inner self. You can do that through meditation – seriously, read this post to know about it.

Though I know my daughter is not a selfie addict, I hope she reads this post and finds it useful to help other teenagers of her age, who risk their future by spending much of their time in the selfie-taking craze.

Over To You –

Do you really think taking selfies can become an addiction? What makes you take a selfie and post it on the social media? What more harm selfie addiction can cause? Share your views in the comments.

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Show Comments

51 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. malihakhan

    2015-11-24 at 4:24 pm

    selifie is the best way to explore aur feelings through pics..lovely post about selfies what mistakes we do will never repeat after reading this post .good to see the post and facts what we do..thanks for sharing

  2. sneha

    2015-09-25 at 7:40 am

    Hi Vinay,
    I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to taking selfies but I must admit that I have to take about 20 of them before I get one that I like. I typically take them to remember a moment or because I was bored.

  3. Philip Verghese Ariel

    2015-09-24 at 12:53 am

    Hi Vinay,

    What an Interesting post!

    Though this was published a few months back somehow I missed this, may be the word selfie was new to me!

    Yes, till recent time it was a taboo to me!

    The reason I will write here, you and others may laugh at me and my brand me as an out dated fellow!

    Whatever you call me I will tell you the truth here!

    Though I watched people especially youngsters taking selfie i never thought of taking one. In a recently concluded blog meet i tried to take a selfie with a reputed blogger from the city I failed it and lastly he helped me in taking one selfie!! LOL

    This is my experience with this!

    Anyways I am happy that I am not addicted to it and sometimes I feel that it as something missing!

    This post talks lot about this wonderful and trending subject. I could learn a lot about it. The concluding sub heading: “15 Reasons Why You Take Selfies And How They Can Go Wrong” is a wonderful information to check and find out in which reason you are in and how it effects to your normal life!

    A Well written piece Vinay!:-)

    Thank you for sharing this timely piece. 🙂
    I am sure this will be an eye opener to many!

    Thanks for sharing that funny video too!
    As you said, in the midst of those serious talk few jovial moments!
    Good Idea! Wonderful!I liked that! 🙂

    All together a wonderful information and warning to those who are addicted to it!

    Keep sharing

    Have a great week ahead

    ~ Philip

  4. Kuashlendra Singh

    2015-09-23 at 6:06 pm

    I enjoyed this post so much. Usually I don’t read such lengthy posts but this such an interesting one, that I read each and every line.
    I am also someone who loves to take selfies. But yes I am not obsessed with it and I definitely don’t indulge in it every time I am hanging with my friends or family to make myself look cool.
    And the last video! OMG! It’s hilarious! I agree that many people need to set control on it.

  5. Temilola Globalwalyy

    2015-08-17 at 10:25 pm

    Hello Sir, its been long i showed up here so firstly lets take a selfie.. 😀

    Talking about selfie, am not an addict of selfie but my Girlfriend is such a selfie Freak, to the extent she bought a selfie stick..

    the most painful thing about selfie addicts is that they don’t know when it becomes too much, i guess it works just like every other addict..

    I will have to share this post with us..

    Thank you very much
    Kind Regards

  6. Baibhav

    2015-08-15 at 7:29 pm

    I can see now a days people are addicted of selfie and especially young generation. Thankfully when I was a child we didn’t have cellphones.
    Interesting post Vinay. Thanks for sharing history about Selfie which was interesting for me to know.


  7. Gurpreet Dhillon

    2015-08-09 at 12:55 pm

    That is really a very unique post i read today and also this was required.

    I think girls are more responsible for selfies.

    One of my friend is known as selfie King in my college and i will sure send him this article to read.

  8. Toby Nwazor

    2015-07-09 at 2:53 am

    Hello Vinay,

    That was a very interesting article you wrote. The example about people who are obsessed with it is quite hilarious but also true.


  9. Basharath

    2015-06-22 at 10:22 am

    Yes this generation has got very much addicted to technology , mainly smartphones taking selfies and other is social networking. Because of being crazy about selfies recently may be 6 months back a guy meet his doom while trying to take a snapshot with tiger in zoo. So taking selfies will be a sweet memory but if it so often then that may result in disastrous. Thank you for sharing this post and giving insight about selfie addiction…

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Why Do You Take Selfies And How To Avoid It Going Wrong

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