Recently I got into a brief conversation with someone on Facebook about selflies. After I made the statement: ” Please stop taking puckered lip selfies everyplace you go, God knows we have enough of them already.” The young women replied by telling me that a lot of these people are lonely, a lot of them take these pictures to help themselves feel less lonely. I can see her point to some extent. But the Duck-lipped-fawn-eyed pose the women do, and the Smolder-faced-squinting-glare that men make is for lack of a better term… Silly. These people are taking the same picture over and over, day after day, and sometimes hour after hour. It seems part of these peoples brains must not be functioning properly to think that this is normal. Most of these pictures either take place in a bathroom medicine cabinet mirror, or are just at the end of the persons reach, so they are so up close you can not even tell the persons location. So clearly these pictures are not about “Look where I am today” – They are more likely about “Look at me, Like me, do you think I’m Attractive?”
When this started, I just dismissed this behavior as pure teenage vanity and pop culture. This was something that just 5 years ago people were not doing this at all, it started with teenagers (Who by the way are not doing it anymore). Remembering my teenage years I can acknowledge that I did all kinds of dumb things. I also took part in some really stupid events, and had some really stupid ideals about life. So it was easy for me to over look these Selfies as things kids were into. This like most things teenagers are into would surely only last for a few months until it was deemed not cool anymore. Then it would be sure to pass from existence, with only an occasional joking reference to remember it by, much like the mullet.
(I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I did not have a camera phone or the internet when I was a teenager to document my stupidity. My teenage behavior only exists in my memories and the memories of a few of my friends.)
What started as a bit of teenage culture has turned into an epidemic. This is no longer teenage girls looking for approval and compliments, or teenage boys showing off their fit stomachs, not anymore… This has turned into something that these teenagers parents have started doing. These are grown men and women, And they are not just doing it occasionally. So what is this really all about?
I would make the case that if this is rooted in some sort of loneliness, that a lot of these cases of loneliness are actually self-inflicted, and are a direct result of social media addiction, as there is nothing really social about social media at all. Of all of your Friends, and Followers, how many of them do you actually see in person, or do things with outside in the real world? The continuing breakdown of society year after year seems to just grow stronger, and it is being fueled by cheap and easily accessible technology. As we delve further and further into digital life,and are further and further removed from organic life where will we end up 10 years from now? We are already replacing cashiers with machines, things like this removes us from interacting with other humans, and intern removes us from our own humanity.
There can be a lot to be said about this cheap, easily accessible, and over-saturate world of technology being a form of brain washing, while our governments and the leaders of the world fight wars, drain our resources, and refuse to listen to the people of the citizens of the world, we find complacency in the escape we make into the fantasy worlds of: social media, world of warcraft, and, netflix. 80 percent of world lives in Poverty, with no hope, and no quality of life. But hey…. Here is a free phone to keep you from thinking about your situation. The rest of the world is made of people who actually can pay their bills , put a little in the bank for a rainy day or a family vacation. while the .1 percent live in God like wealth, with 10 families that control the entire global economy. People do not even know how to make eye contact anymore, or have a conversation without a screen involved, or leave their homes without technology in their pockets. So how on earth are these people going to stand up for change, and make a difference. How are people who are so dependent on technology ever going to be able to be away from it long enough to make their voices heard? (okay I am getting a bit off subject now, Ill try to come back to this in a later post)
I see so many children trying to get their parents attention while their parent sits on their phone ignoring them.
This problem goes far deeper then me being annoyed by people taking pictures of themselves. I love technology, I love video games I even love being able to have silly debates on facebook, or writing this blog that probably no one is reading.But, I do not let any of those things replace life, real experiences, or real friendships. When I leave the house, I leave my phone in the car. When I go to sleep I turn the phone off. And guess what nothing bad has happened! I haven’t missed anything important, and there was no emergency I was unable to respond to. I worry about people , I worry about humans, I am not trying to put anyone down , I am not trying to attack anyone. There are people I have known personally for years, that I know for a fact have created their own loneliness through media addiction, not the other way around. I am not here to judge anyone, as I am far from a perfect human being. However we do not allow people to lay in bed all day when they are depressed, we recognize the problem and do what we can to help them. Selfie addiction has been proven to be an OCD like addiction behavior that can lead to diminishing quality of life, depression, anxiety, obsession, eating disorders, exhaustion, and in some very rare cases even suicide attempts. Why is it not okay for a depressed person to lay in bed all day, but it’s okay for a media addicted person to not be able to take step without checking their phone or taking a picture of themselves? This is not about Self portraits. People have been taking self portraits since film cameras, and painting them before cameras even existed. This Selfie issue I have, is not about if you take a picture of yourself doing something fun, or with a friend. It is about the people who are doing it non stop every hour. This is not healthy, and someone needs to wake them up. I have a “friend” that has posted over 2000 selfies in a 3 month period of time. There is a new picture of himself just about every hour yesterday including one of him during the middle of a medical exam. I am sorry but this goes far beyond loneliness. We have interventions for alcoholics don’t we?