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An analysis of the Selfie: A new unconscious illness

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 1943 words Published: 10th Apr 2017

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Title: Selfie: A new unconscious illness

1.0 Introduction

People have been taking selfie as a trend that is ongoing. The word ‘selfie’ is officially named by the Oxford Dictionaries World of the Year in 2013. ‘Selfie’ is define as a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website (Oxford University Press, 2014).Moreover, selfie is often associated with social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. People take selfie wherever they are and whatever they are doing.

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These days, people snap pictures of themselves wherever they are. For example, selfies taken at funerals, presidential selfies, and even a selfie from space (The Daily Hit, 2013). The popularity of selfies has dramatically increased and had become a social media phenomenon. So, should this be seen as an issues? According to Doctor Pamela Rutledge (2013), selfies can be damaging to a person’s mental health and that indulging in them is indicative of narcissism, low self-esteem, attention seeking behaviour and self-indulgence. Even Thailand’s Department of Mental Health come to a conclusion that the ‘selfie culture’ bring a potential negative impact and claiming that young people are suffering from emotional problem when their selfies is not underappreciated by others. The public does not concern about this issue [L1]because they are not conscious of the illness that selfie can bring.

2.0 Sickness of selfie

2.1 Narcissism

The meaning of narcissism is excessive self-love (Acocella Joan, 2005). Due to the improvement of the technology, taking selfie now is much more convenient. Camera are now being placed on our phones with high mega pixel, we get to edit the picture that we just snap with a touch and we can share it to everyone with a click. The more shots that are taken, the danger you are. You might feel each of the photos of you are so pretty due to the effect that make your skin smooth, fair and make you look younger. This thought may be the platform of the sickness – Narcissism. Narcissism can be also defined as a personality disorder that cause by behaviour like exploiting others, envy, lack of empathy and an insatiable hunger for attention (Acocella Joan, 2005). It is a pretty judgmental label to string up on someone who might be happy with him or herself. According to Doctor Pamela Rutledge (2013), the growing selfie trend is today being connected to a lot of psychological disorders that can be damaging to the overall psyche of the users. Psychologists and psychiatrists are reporting rising numbers of patients who are suffering from narcissism, body dysmorphic and dramatically low self-esteem, all thanks to selfie-nation. According to Doctor David Verle (2014) “Two out of three of all the patients who arrive to examine him with Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the cost increase of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly read and post selfies on the social media sites.” This indicates that too much selfie can actually lead to Narcissism.

2.2 Addiction

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry (ASAM, 2011). Selfie can be an addiction to everyone, not only youngsters, elderly may also addicted to the selfie phenomenon. It seems that some people can’t stop turning the camera their way for that perfect shot, and now psychologists say taking selfie can turn an addiction for people already affected by certain psychological disorders. Research found that UK’s first selfie addict is the teen and has had therapy to treat his technology addiction (Fiona Keating, 2014). They believe that the addiction toward selfie is because “Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence that raises narcissism or low self-esteem,” (Pamela Rutledge, 2013). Someone that who are addicted to selfie can snap more than 200 times selfie per day. The first case is of Danny Bowman who is 19, a British teen diagnosed with selfie addiction. He reportedly spent 10 hours daily with 200 photos of himself, but the numerous shots cannot still satisfy his desires. He eventually tried to commit suicide to break free from addiction (Aldridge Gemma; Harden Kerry, 2014). Due to the addiction of selfie, he quit school to have more time for selfie, shutting himself in the house for six month, lost 13 kg just to get a better feature from the camera and become aggressive with his parents when they tried to stop him from selfie. Danny says that he constantly search for the perfect selfie and when he realise the he couldn’t he wanted to suicide. Because of the addiction of selfie, he lost his friends, disappoint his family, giving up his education, health and almost scarifies his own life. The addiction of selfie is most likely to the addiction of drugs, alcohol or gambling which require a lot of efforts to be recover.

3.0 Dealing with selfie

3.1 How parents can help to reduce this issues

Most of us do practice selfie, but how to deal with it, how to prevent from getting any illness but still enjoying selfie. First, parent’s education is most important. Knowing what is your children going through and having a better example of selfie phenomena. Some of the children go through rebellious period, they tend to do the opposite thing when their parents say not to (Rutledge Pamela, 2013). So due to this, parent should know their kids well and have a good communication between them to solve this issue. Next, parents should keep the habits of taking selfie when their children is not around because the behaviour of a parent’s influence their children because children tends to modify what their parents doing. Furthermore, parents should also educate their children on what negative effect can selfie bring. Parents play an important role in a child’s life and what they have made changes what they think.

3.2 Time limitations on phone

Other than having the parents educate, time limitation on the phone also helps in dealing with selfie. The lesser the time you spend on your mobile phone, the lesser your addiction towards selfie. Most of us search for photo perfection for example Danny Bowman. After selfie, we spend most of the time on choosing the perfect picture and spend time on editing. Due to the advance technology, there are now thousands of applications for you to edit your picture. From the case of Danny Bowman, there is a cure toward the addiction of selfie – which is to limit his time on his mobile phones. Danny claimed that the doctor confiscate his phone from him for ten minutes, then half an hour, then an hour (Aldridge Gemma; Harden Kerry, 2014). It was tough for him at first, but the idea of living keeps him motivated. According to Doctor Veal, the usual treatment for selfie is where a patient gradually learns to work for a longer period of time without satisfying the urge to submit pictures. There is not much worried because there is a cure for addiction and narcissism.

4.0 Conclusion

Selfie addiction is so new there are, as yet, no statistics on it (Aldridge Gemma; Harden Kerry, 2014) so it causes people to be unconscious about it. How can the society help to improve the selfie phenomena is to spread the word and inform about what illness can bring when they having too much of selfie. Other than that, self-conscious is also important as we. Always control yourself on the number of selfie and the time spent on selfie, make sure you are not addicted to it. If you were addicted, find someone to talk to, get some opinion or seek for a further medical check-up if you can’t manage to get out from the illness that you are having. Lastly, we can make the selfie phenomena a better world by reminding each other not to take too much shots to avoid all the illness and educate them on how to deal with selfie.

Reference List

Acocella Joan. (2014) Selfie.New Yorker, 0028792X, 5/12/2014, Vol. 90, Issue 12. Retrieved from


Addiction. (2011). American Society of Addiction Medicine. Retrieved form


Aldridge, G., & Harden, K. (2014). Selfie addict took Two Hundred a day – and tried to kill himself when he couldn’t take perfect photo. Retrieved from


Martino Joe. (2014). Scientists Link Selfies to Narcissism, Addiction & Mental Illness. Retrieved from


Rutledge Pamela. (2013). Making Sense of Selfies. Retrieved from


Rutledge Pamela. (2013). The psychology of the selfie. Airtalk. Retrieved from


Selfie. (2012). In Oxford dictionaries. Retrieved from


The Daily Hit. (2013). The Selfie Addiction ¼š Top 16 worst types of selfies. Retrieved from


The Huffington Post. (2014), ‘Selfie Addiction’ is No Laughing Matter, Psychiatrists Say (VIDEO). Retrieved from


[L1]Informal tone. Please rephrase.


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