The global selfie craze has become dangerous, even deadly.
• A polish couple recently plunged to their deaths after trying to take a selfie on a cliff in Portugal. Their 5 and 6-year olds watched the deadly fall.
• Two women in Iran crashed their car when they tired to capture themselves singing. They escaped with only minor injuries, which they photographed and posted on their Facebook pages shortly after they left the hospital.
• A 14-year-old student in Manila fell down her school stairs and died while she was trying to snap a selfie.
• Tour de France cyclists dangerously dodged spectators who attempted to take selfies with the riders as they pass.
In fact, mental health professionals increasingly are seeing patients who have become obsessed and addicted to taking selfies.
A British teen reportedly attempted suicide after spending up to 10 hours a day taking cellphone photos of himself.
“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie, and when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die,” the teen told the Daily Mirror.
People with body image disorders are particularly vulnerable to becoming obsessed with selfies as they compulsively attempt to find a flattering angle and the perfect light. A British psychiatrist said that two out of three patients he sees with Body Dysmorphic Disorder have become obsessed with photographing themselves.
Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Boston, says the “cult of the selfie” isn’t all bad.
“As a celebration of real people, selfies can be empowering and even normalizing and reaffirm the drive for authenticity that is the hallmark of social media,” Rutledge says in Psychology Today.
Moderation and balance, as in all things, are important to remember when taking selfies.
If you think your selfie-taking is getting out of hand, try these strategies from Rutledge.
1. Take one less selfie a day.
2. Take selfies that celebrate the work you’ve accomplished, rather than what you look like.
3. Only share selfies with friends, not with the whole world online.