What’s up with teen obsession with selfies?

Have you noticed that if you spend a day with teens, particularly girls, numerous selfies will be taken? You will be driving along minding your own business when a flash goes off in the back seat . You will be startled, but then you will remember you are transporting a teen or multiple teens so that streak of light isn’t a siren or a UFO — it’s merely another selfie.

Yes, we are raising the #selfie generation. Our kids may be future doctors or lawyers or even nuclear scientists but only if they’re not too busy posting selfies  on Instagram to worry about a career.

And, now, the selfie has made headlines for its appearance at college graduation. The University of South Florida has forbid graduates to take selfies on stage during graduation. USF notified graduating students and placed an ad in the student newspaper this week asking them to refrain from taking selfies with USF president Judy Genshaft when crossing the stage for their diplomas. The reason, they claim, is that it will slow down the graduation ceremony. But can the selfie generation really refrain from such a prime selfie opportunity?

The selfie craze has affected high school graduation, too. My daughter recently informed me that graduates at her high school no longer want the prestige of sitting on the stage during graduation. Usually, a stage seat means you’re highly ranked in the class. But sitting on the stage now means you can’t use your cell phones during the ceremony — and that means no “here I am waiting for my turn selfies.” Even worse, it means no texting for a few hours. What American teen could survive that?

As selfies document every accomplishment in my teens’ lives, I’ve been wondering…Are kids today more self-absorbed than we were at their age?

It seems like vanity has become an obnoxious online preoccupation for teens reinforced by a burning need for “likes.”  What’s amazing to me is that very few poses are off limits for selfie-taking teens. One mom I know says the sharing of self-portraits on social networking has become such an issue in her house that that she has banned bathing suit selfies.

How many of you have witnessed a teen trying repeatedly to take the perfect selfie? It can involve posing and re-posing so many times that you find yourself saying “enough already!”

So, for  parents like me who are reeling from selfie obsession,  it’s up to us to shape the future of the habit. Tell you’re kid her or she is lovable and cool and doesn’t need a selfie to prove it. You might have to do it between camera clicks.




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  1. Samantha April 30, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Selfies have become a way of commuicating or socializing. They let generations express who they are (in the most postive light) through the preferred venue of communication. There has been some psych research done on this (Im a graduate psychology student) that while it may seem vain its the new way of self-exploration, finding how they relate to the world and how the world chooses to see them. It seems to allow them to define who they are and how others see them. Im definitely not saying its okay to post bikini selfies for anyone but that its a thing of the times and will hopefully pass. : )

  2. 8th Grade Students May 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    We think that this has been blown out of proportion. It’s just a picture. Sometimes our parents get annoyed when we ask them to take pictures of us with our friends, so it is easier for us to take selfies. We also take selfies because that is what people our age are doing and it is a way to participate and communicate with them, as with Snapchat.

    There is a need for balance between the inward focus of taking a selfie and the outward awareness of how that choice will impact the larger event , such as the graduation reference or the recent .

    Taking selfies is not the end of the world unless it becomes an unhealthy obsession. When your selfie-taking begins to impact others, like your flash going off in the back seat when your parent is driving at night, or your own self worth is attached to taking them, it has become unhealthy.

    (We wrote this comment as a part of a Language Arts unit on Blogging.)

  3. 8th Grade Students May 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm


    There is a need for balance between the inward focus of taking a selfie and the outward awareness of how that choice will impact the larger event , such as the graduation reference or the recent Hong Kong marathon.

  4. Even more 8th Grade Students May 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Instagram and selfies are not going to take over our lives. This is more of a novel phase or stage. As we grow up, we will shift our focus to other interests. Each generation has had a fad that was probably concerning to their parents as well. This is the first generation that has had access to this technology. Perhaps it is too much to ask that we will figure out the appropriate use of it all without guidance and education.

    However, is the focus on selfies and phones taking away from being present with those around us? Yes, there are times when taking photos is appropriate. But there should be a balance so that we aren’t ignoring the people we are physically with at that time.

    We need to have more open conversations about this, but as of right now, we’re not sure who is knowledgeable enough to give advice that we can trust.

  5. Brita May 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I have a 16 year old daughter that is absolutely obsessed with selfies. I watch her eat breakfast and pause to snap a picture of herself with a mouth full of cereal. She is constantly snapping selfies, documenting the most mundane moments of her everyday life. As I watched her obsession progress, I became worried. We had a good chat, in which she helped explain her selfie habit by showing me how snap chat works. In order to “speak to” (i.e. text) her friends through snap chat, she must include a picture. That explained some (some) of her obsessive selfie behaviors. Still, I DO believe teens are much more self absorbed (dare I say narcissistic?) than previous generations. It’s not just the selfie craze, but other things I notice with my own teens. They are apathetic. They don’t have much empathy toward others. My teens forget family birthdays (unless I remind them), they have no listening skills (unless the conversation is about them), they know only what they want and care little about how their decisions impact others. Their world revolves around them, always.
    Were we like that when we were teens? YES! Absolutely. Is it more noticeable and pervasive for today’s teens? No doubt, given the general narcissistic tendencies of all areas of society today- media, print, politics, TV, school, parenting-everything! They are what they see, hear and feel. Period. So, when we, as parents, question their self-absorbed behaviors, we should first look at how they might see us and our own behaviors. I just started blogging my own experiences with teens at http://www.backwardparentingbybrita.com. Please visit!

  6. teenager selfies May 29, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Hello, all the time i used to check blog posts here in the early
    hours in the morning, as i like to learn more and more.


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