Fame-hungry teens are opening themselves up to bullying and exploitation by posting provocative photos and videos on social media, a year-long study into "selfie culture" has found.
The so-called "#Instafamers" are abandoning lessons learned about online privacy, posting near-nude photos or videos and opening themselves up to exploitation and bullying, according to the researchers at Centennial College in Toronto.
"When sharing becomes over-sharing and that becomes fame-craving and that becomes obsessive, then obviously we need to start asking why," said Debbie Gordon, director of Centennial College's Kids Research Centre, which researches children's media futures.
Gordon and her team combed through social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Vine looking for users aged 13 to 18, mostly in North America, 'thestar.com' reported.
They found thousands of fame-hungry teens, some with millions of followers, posting provocative photos or videos.
"They're working it. If you've got a million followers, you are going to be in front of your phone or your computer for many hours and many days," said Gordon.
"We have a culture that conflates celebrity kinds of attention with being important and being heard," said Aimee Morrison, an associate professor of English specialising in new media studies at the University of Waterloo.
Morrison said the desire for attention is natural, but in the absence of better mentoring, some teens are seduced by a quick attention fix.