Social scientists have varying views on the selfie trend; while some see it as leading to narcissism among the adolescents and younger generation of today; others view it as nothing more than a way for these individuals to express themselves which they happen to do so via social media and in a more public manner compared to the past. However the question is whether or not the young generation is aware of the impression selfies leave and what kind of visual message is being portrayed through these visual images they share.

Director of the Media Psychology Research Center, Dr. Pamela Rutledge is of the opinion that the selfie is under a great deal of fire by parents and experts alike. She believes that the trend is not that new as the term selfie was defined in 2005. The only reason why selfies are more prevalent today is because a larger number of people own cell phones with cameras allowing them to take such pictures of themselves.

She states that the way in which the younger generation thinks of technology in general is different than how people thought of it 10 years ago. Changes are so frequent in technology that what is considered to be normal is no longer the same as what it used to be.

Looking at it from a developmental aspect, for children and teenagers, selfies do make sense and for the most part shouldn’t be viewed as anything other than self exploration. According to a clinical psychologist and research fellow at UCLA, Dr. Andrea Letamendi, selfies are simply a way for young individuals to express how they are feeling and for them to share important experiences.

With teenagers trying to find an identity for themselves, selfies are a way for them to test their looks and for them to understand how they feel when they are dressed a certain way. She is also of the opinion that through such self images, it allows individuals to be able to participate with the rest of the world via social media.

Despite selfies being an important part of growing up does not make them okay. Similar to all types of behaviors which children and teenagers test out, parents should help in placing a limit and to set guidelines for the kinds of pictures which are acceptable and which aren’t and which can be uploaded on social media.

While for children to view these images as anything other than being part of a developmental phase is unlikely, they should still be made to understand that their actions will have consequences. The only awareness which kids have is with respect to their experiences and expecting them to understand what something means to an adult is similar to expecting an adult to understand what something means to a teenager which is quite impossible.

Thus while children and teenagers ought to engage in this present trend, it is the responsibility of parents and adults to ensure that boundaries are stayed within and that they are made aware of how their pictures can have consequences for them as well as affect those viewing them.

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