Viewing selfies online appears to have a negative impact on the well-being and body confidence in adolescents

In July 2019 researchers from Australia, France and the USA published their review of the medical scientific literature to assess the relationship between taking “selfies” with well-being and body confidence in adolescents. Social media use has grown rapidly in recent years, with one of the most popular activities for young people being the taking, sharing, and browsing of digital self-photos, known as selfies. No studies were found reporting on selfie practices and their effects on children. However, there are studies involving adolescents which indicate that certain aspects of selfie behaviours may be more problematic than others. Specifically, viewing selfies online appears to have a negative impact on adolescents’ well-being and body confidence, at least in the short term. In addition, the seeking and placing importance on feedback from others may also be a harmful aspect of selfie practices. Research has also identified that it is social comparison that links selfie practices to well-being and body confidence. Further research is required to further advance the understanding on the effects of selfie practices, and also research with children and with boys.

McLean SA et al. How do “selfies” impact adolescents’ well-being and body confidence? A narrative review. Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2019 Jul 9;12:513-521.

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