Image: Selfie by author
I was kidding around with my fiancé the other day: We were
doing that Saturday morning Facebook
trawl when we came across someone’s
account which consists of almost nothing but pictures she has taken of herself.
“It’s Facebook, not Selfiebook”, I said. The word has been voted Word of the
Year by the Oxford English Dictionary
, and perhaps it says something about
Is it narcissism?
Teens are very self-aware. They start developing tastes in
hairstyles and clothing, some of which they’ll regret in years to come, but
that’s part of the fun. So they capture each tiny shift of the fringe with the
classic taken-from-above pic and share it on social media. There are pouty
ones, going-out makeup ones, makeup-free ones and just-chilling ones.
All serve to archive what appears to be the teen’s life: Me,
me and me. And that’s ok. Teens need to develop that sense of self. Imagine
yourself as a teen again: Within a year your face can change shape, your hair
can change texture and you are learning to adapt to an older, more adult you.
Sharing the pics on social media generally inspires favourable comments from friends
such as “kewl pic!” Teens need this time to reconcile the child with the adult
With a word of warning, of course
There are instances which aren’t appropriate for selfies,
such as pics taken at that first party where a teen gets drunk. (Yes, that DOES happen), or at a funeral
(yes, that was a craze in the US this year). Generally, your teen’s friends
will call them out when the pic is inappropriate. Hopefully your kid will know
not to post pics to social media which may compromise their hunt for a tertiary
institution or job later on!
With influential celebrities posting sometimes sensual or
even erotic pics of themselves it’s a good idea to make it clear to your teen
that sexy selfies can cause endless trouble. The internet can be a cruel place
to discover this.
But the duckface? I reckon that’s just silly, old-fashioned
fun. And I’m a dad, so it’s partially my job to make fun of my kids, and for them
to make fun of me. I still take lots of pictures of them. I call them “youies.”
Is your teen a selfie-addict?