Debate: Is Selfie Culture Out of Control?

Has teens' selfie habit gone too far? Two teens weigh in.

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Whether it’s to show off a new haircut or cool vacation, posting your face on social media is practically a reflex. But with a whole Tumblr dedicated to “Selfies at Serious Places”—like funerals (cringe!)—some say selfie-mania is turning us into a nation of narcissists. So we asked two teens: Is selfie culture helping our self-esteem or sentencing us to lives of self-obsession?

 

 YES:  Stop seeking attention and approval by posting selfies.

The selfie phenomenon might seem like a meaningless fad, but it has gone way too far! Pictures are supposed to solidify a special moment forever, but the proliferation of selfies has devalued the power of a photograph. People seem to think that any moment is a moment worthy of immortalizing. It’s not!

Selfies also highlight the growing narcissism of our generation. We all seem to think we’re important, and our selfies are a way to beg for attention. In fact, I’ve seen friends get so caught up in getting a selfie that they are outright disrespectful, ignoring everyone and everything around them!

Remember, the emotional boost we get from earning “likes” is temporary. Try to get that same feeling by creating an awesome memory—then you’ve captured a mental photo you can treasure forever.

—Alex Hager, 17, a high school senior from Darien, CT


 NO:  Selfies are a powerful tool for self-expression.

I’m sick of hearing that selfies are a dangerous trend! They’re a beautiful form of self-expression, allowing us to share emotions like joy or despair.

Most important, though, selfies improve self-esteem—and not because of “likes.” The biggest boost comes from seeing people with different body types, hairstyles, skin tones, and fashion senses. They enrich your image of what people really look like (unique!)—as opposed to seeing only what the media shows you.

—Isabel Song, 17, a high school senior from Colorado Springs, CO


THREE FAST FACTS

1. Use of the word “selfie” in the English language went up 17,000 percent between 2012 and 2013.

2. As this issue went to press, there were 189 million posts on Instagram with the tag #selfie.

3.Pictures with human faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes than photos with no faces. They’re also 32 percent more likely to attract comments.

Sources: 1. Oxford English Dictionary; 2. Instagram’s Explore function; 3. a 2014 study by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs.


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Special thanks to our monthly debate partner, HuffPost Teen. To debate this topic and others—and to check out more teen writing on the issues that matter to you—head to
www.huffpost.com/teen, or follow @HuffPostTeen on Twitter!

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