When parents should worry about teen girls’ selfies

However, when adolescent girls spend too much time agonizing over which photo of themselves to post, or rely heavily on editing apps to alter their images, there may be cause for concern.The study, by researchers at the University of Arizona, found that selfie editing and time invested in creating and selecting the perfect selfie were both related to self-objectification, which led to body shame, appearance anxiety and more negative appearance evaluations in teen girls.”Self-objectification is the idea that you come to think of yourself as an external object to be viewed by other people,” said senior study author Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, an associate professor of communication in the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “Your orientation to the world is not an internal one, where you’re thinking about how you feel or what you know or what you can do, but rather what you look like to other people. The focus on taking the perfect selfie seems to be encouraging girls to learn to see themselves as external objects for people to look at and admire.”

“Self-objectification is the pathway to so many things in adolescence that we want to prevent,” Aubrey said. “So, interventions really should focus on how we can encourage girls to develop an awareness of themselves that’s not solely hinged on what they look like to other people.”The researchers said parents and caregivers of adolescent girls should be aware of red flags on teens’ phones, such as selfie editing apps or camera rolls teeming with selfies. If a teen seems to be selfie-obsessed, it might be time for a talk.

“Having those conversations at a very early age is one of the ways problems can be avoided in the future,” Teran said.The researchers also note that there can be different motivations for sharing selfies.”Selfies are a part of the media landscape, but you should post them for reasons other than trying to get people to admire your appearance or your body,” Aubrey said. For example, posting a selfie on vacation or with friends may be more about sharing an experience than focusing on appearance.With an estimated 93 million selfies taken each day, they aren’t going away anytime soon, nor should they, researchers said. Teran said the important thing to remember is: “Selfies aren’t bad. Just don’t obsess.”

Source: University of Arizona

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