The term “Selfie” was declared the “Word of the Year” in 2013 by Oxford dictionaries because of its frequency of use. According to news reports, there are more than 379 selfie deaths reported globally between January 2008 and July 2021. Now, parents, health professionals, teachers, educators, and researchers share worrying concerns about the impact of selfie addiction in children. With more than 1.5 billion smarts phones in use, the selfie is a part of our language and culture. It can be as serious as social media addiction if you find your kids saying ‘time for a selfie’ way too often. Selfies are mainly to have fun taking pictures. But the problem arises when it happens to become a threat to self-esteem, body shaming, and bullying.
Why Should You Worry About Selfie Addiction in Children?
Peer influence and attention-seeking needs are the main reasons for selfie addiction in children. There’s a strong need for children to be dramatic, different from others, and push their limits. Uploading daring selfies on social media allows children to get instant love in the form of comments and likes. Children start comparing the comments and go beyond their limits risking their own lives.
Intense selfie addiction leads to a lack of self-love. Kids are obsessed with selfies and try to take multiple photos every day and they even try to get upset for not being able to get the ‘perfect‘ look. Lack of family support and communication could also be a reason for selfie addiction in children. Mental health specialists advise parents to have good interactions with kids on a regular basis. This will help kids to stay out of peer influences and spend more offline time with friends and family.
Consider the emotional needs of a kid. Selfies can give them instant happiness and it turns out to be a temporary solution to their emotional needs and loneliness. When children face academic problems and failures, selfie and social media gives them happy feelings, praise, and attention from friends.
What are the Symptoms and Signs?
- Spends a long time on mobile phone
- Loss of sleeping/oversleeping
- Obsesses about dresses, appearance, makeup
- Poor academic performance
- Lack of interest in other activities
- Low self-esteem
- Irritated Behaviour
What Can Parents Do About Selfie Addiction?
If you find your kids clicking selfies all time, talk to them and do not try to stop them suddenly. Involve them in other activities to keep them away from phones. Motivate, teach, and encourage them to be happy with their physical appearance. Do not body shame your kid in public or private.
Set Boundaries – Do not restrict mobile phones completely. You can allow them to use it wisely and ensure you demonstrate the right usage.
Character Building –
Encourage your kids to participate in extra activities like community service or healthy activities. This will help them to explore opportunities outside mobile phones.
Teach Relationships –
Go for family outings, and have lunch or dinner time together. Mobile phones do not teach them real and meaningful relationships so try to engage them in outdoor activities because it is important for kids to exercise and spend time outdoors.
Engage Them –
Boredom can be dangerous for young kids. Plan a schedule for them. Arrange after-school activities, homework, family time, meal time and so on to keep them occupied.
Seek Help –
Too much of restrictions can also turn out against you. So, try to monitor their behavior. Do not complain. If you feel they need help, talk to a professional and take immediate action. Ensure your kid meets his/her developmental milestone.
Selfies can still bring in more memories but they shouldn’t lead to addiction. Break your kid’s screen time and always pay attention to what he/she does on the internet.