by Brittany Swart

Beware of the Selfie

The selfie. If you are not previously aware of the enormously popular phenomena, it’s likely that close friends or family members are. With one click, people can flip through hundreds of photos of themselves, perhaps the only difference in the photos being their body or face position. Along with the posted pictures, likes and comments are bound to pop up.

Editor Joanna Douglas wrote an article on the selfie, more specifically, the sexy selfie. She points out that selfies make a person appear less attractive than those who spend their time pursuing other interests. Douglas states that the concept of the sexy selfie is damaging to women and advises others to think twice before snapping that selfie.

However, most people view the selfie as a beneficial tool, not a harmful one. They get together with their old friends and take a photo together, capturing a particular adventure of themselves enjoying life. People get to express themselves how they want to, making sure that they have the perfect pose for the picture in a group setting or solo. More selfies are uploaded on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more likes and comments are handed out. And why not? We enjoy people telling us how ripped we are or how that color we just dyed our hair with makes our face glow.

Photographs offer us windows into the past and show us what lies ahead. They bring the world to us. But are we aware of some of the problems that can arise with taking that glamorous photo of us making supper or hanging out at the beach?

We want people to like us—the way we look, talk, and act. We strive for recognition, and with the selfie we get precisely that. One uploaded photo of a coy smile or saucy stance may earn dozens of likes and comments. “You’re gorgeous!” or “You’re hot!” comments decorate the photo in question. It is hard to deny the thrill that comes when someone tells you how beautiful, sporty, or cool you are. But what if the likes and comments quit coming? What if that new photo you just took of your newly painted nails doesn’t get a single acknowledgment?

The selfie has increased our appetite for recognition. We want—we need—to be complimented by others. It’s an addiction everybody supports, craving affirmation and the good feelings that come with it. Instead of recognizing and accepting our own strengths and peculiarities, we use the selfie to seek approval from others.

But did you ever stop to think that with the time we spend taking selfies, editing them to make sure the filter on the camera covers our wrinkles, and posting them online, we could actively be making a difference in the world? We could learn. We could help other people. We could read the Bible more. By staying wrapped up in our cocoons, we are perhaps creating a fantasy world for ourselves where everyone loves the way we look and dress and that is all that matters. But that is not all that matters.

The environment matters. People matter. The world matters. And God matters, most of all. The world needs people to get involved who will work hard for the causes they believe in. The selfie may be a great tool for sharing memories with people and spreading awareness about a particular topic. But the flip side of the coin is that selfie-taking is likely to lead to increased self-absorption, increased insecurity, and alienation from friends and family.

So the next time you go to snap a selfie of yourself, think about why you are taking that picture and who it is for. Ask the question, “Is this to glorify myself or God?”