The selfie you take on your mobile, is not free. Selfie obsession is a form of psychological disorder that psychologists worldwide are concerned of. The mobile camera revolution that brought a front camera was taken well by the younger generation as it made taking self-images so much easier. There was a time when taking a selfie and posting the same on social media and getting instant likes was a craze among the youth. In fact, even India’s Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD) has also created a campaign called ‘Selfie with daughter’ to promote ‘save the girl child’ campaign. US president Barrack Obama’s selfie once taken Twitter on storm.
Taking selfie and posting them on social media was such a craze that certain mobile manufacturers specially cashed on the same craze and brought mobile phones specifically for taking selfies. There is one mobile brand that has even separated cameras for taking self-image and a group selfie. However, psychologists have warned that this obsession of taking selfies shows a form a psychological disorder.
The term selfie denotes picture of one’s own self. This is very useful in today’s world of lonely people and sole travelers. Selfie stick is another innovation that has made the job even easier. Now a photo can be shot without any help and with better clarity and angle.
Psychologists say that one’s selfies obsession comes with a greater price as it denotes self-obsession. In their ‘Dark Triad’ study, Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M has studied Narcissism, Psycopathy and Machiavellianism along with self-objectification and found that such people are manipulative in their dealing with others.
To understand how selfie obsession and posting them on social media denotes psychological disorder we need to understand certain psychological terms. ‘Narcissists’ are those who are highly obsessed with themselves and always need to be admired by others. They have a sense of superiority. Pasycopaths are those who lack empathy for others and want to take the hardest revenge. Machiavellianism is manipulating others without trying to understand others’ needs.
Fox, J., & Rooney, M. C. have tested the correlation between Dark Triad and Selfie obsessiveness in 2015. This study revealed that both narcissism and self-objectification were associated with spending more time on social media and with more photo editing. Posting a lot of selfies on social media was associated with both narcissism and psychopathy.
One interesting fact that came out in this study was that people high in psychopathy didn’t care much about editing their selfies online. Researchers felt that was because they lacked self-control.
There are other psychological studies that showed that people high on self-esteem may be associated with narcissism and those who are low in self-esteem, they do self-objectification. These people tend to not only edit their photos but always try to look good to others.
Another study showed greater Facebook use may be related to narcissism and low self-esteem. Some researchers in Poland has found a distinction in selfie posting behavior and narcissism. According to them women who post more selfies may be admiration seeking people.
So you understand that the selfie you take on your mobile actually come with a higher cost associated with it. This is related to your mental health concerns. However, researchers have so far only found moderate correlation between selfie obsession and psychological illness. They say that more research is needed in this area to establish these facts with good statistical significance. So, until that happens, don’t blame your friends for their selfie obsession. We still need to be cautious about that.