Selfies: How far is going too far? | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Selfies: How far is going too far?

chandigarh Updated: Jul 02, 2014 14:25 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times
Celebrities

From celebrities to classmates, politicians to partygoers, the obsession with the selfie spans far and wide. Is the selfie saga only a bit of innocent fun or does it amount to narcissistic self-indulgence?

Take for instance the case of a 16-year-old student of a government school in Chandigarh who injured himself in a game of football, but didn't lose a moment to click a selfie and tell the whole world about it. Then there's a young resident from Chandigarh, who like many others, doesn't mind posing in the bathroom, aiming her smartphone at the mirror, only to uplink the selfie on a social networking site to see how many 'likes' it gets.

With people even posting sexual selfies or showing off their bodies (read muscles and toned abs), many wonder how much from one's life one is prepared to show to the world.

Losing focus

Clearly the private and public divide has got blurred. In an age when Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become the new page 3, HT City asks tricity youth on their take on the social must-do.

Ayesha Sethi, 21, finds clicking selfies a norm, while her 18-year-old brother Anmol says, "It's alright for me to show off my muscles and upload a selfie on Facebook or Instagram if I wish to. But if my sister does the same, I can't let her do so. What if she is called sexy!"

But even innocent selfies have led to troubles.

Thirteen-year-old Sharin (name changed) from Mohali slipped off the staircase and suffered a head injury while trying to click a picture of herself pouting with the victory sign. "I felt embarrassed and frustrated. I haven't stopped clicking selfies, but the frequency with which I engage in it is has come down. My cousins have also stopped clicking selfies while driving. My injury was an eye-opener for them as well," she says.

When it's worrying

Chandigarh-based counsellor and rehabilitation psychologist Simi Gupta, who deals with youth issues, feels youngsters are more involved in this trend as those in the age-group of 18-34 years are voracious digital users than the previous generation.

"It's human nature to want to show off one's achievements. When you feel good about yourself (or look good), it's far too easy to reach out for your phone and document it all through selfies," she says. She agrees with the fact that taking selfies can turn into an obsession for people already affected by psychological disorders. Preoccupation with selfies can be a visible indicator in a young person who lacks confidence.

On the other hand, city based consultant psychiatrist Simmi Waraich, feels some people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) may take too many selfies as they usually (wrongly) believe that there are defects in a few parts of their bodies. For example, they may feel their nose is too broad or their chin is small. They take selfies to cover that defect.

"In such cases, selfies may be a symptom, because these people are obsessed to the extent of being delusional (that they have a defect in their appearance). However, some children and youngsters with poor self control, an excessive need for approval, and narcissism, may keep posting selfies. Some parents come with complaints that their teens are hooked on to Facebook. If the time they spend on social media is excessive or their studies and other activities are affected, we call it a disorder. Not otherwise," she says.

She believes one needs to know where to stop, as selfies help document the journey of the self in this age of more social media contacts and less real life ones.

Harmless fun for some

For psychotherapist Renee Singh, selfies are a form of harmless fun and should be viewed in that spirit. However, she says that the root of the problem lies in people's addiction to the internet, as the uncontrollable urge to upload a selfie on social media is what could become a cause of concern. As bewildering as they might be, the "me and myself" moments are an indication of semi-narcissistic attributes. She doesn't think that clicking selfies in itself is a disorder.

Another 24-year-old (who does not want to be named) says clicking selfies motivated her to lose weight as whenever she noticed her plump face in close-ups, it left her depressed. "I avoid clicking close-ups now. But what's the harm about clicking selfies? It is something I enjoy doing when I'm free. Why make such a fuss?"

From celebrities to classmates, politicians to partygoers, the obsession with the selfie spans far and wide. Is the selfie saga only a bit of innocent fun or does it amount to narcissistic self-indulgence?

Take for instance the case of a 16-year-old student of a government school in Chandigarh who injured himself in a game of football, but didn't lose a moment to click a selfie and tell the whole world about it. Then there's a young resident from Chandigarh, who like many others, doesn't mind posing in the bathroom, aiming her smartphone at the mirror, only to uplink the selfie on a social networking site to see how many 'likes' it gets.

With people even posting sexual selfies or showing off their bodies (read muscles and toned abs), many wonder how much from one's life one is prepared to show to the world.