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Author: Justin Mckibben
What kind of selfie do you usually snap? Is it one with an obscene amount of editing to look glamorous? Is it one of you and the family at dinner or out in some exotic location on vacation? Or is it a pic of you and a volunteer crew at a charity event? When you hashtag and share it, what does that selfie say about you? What is the message you are trying to send?
Before we have talked about the dangers of obsessive selfie taking, and I have personally related to how the ‘selfie society’ of today could be risky for those struggling with addiction or mental health concerns, presenting issues with narcissism or relating to depression when correlated an obsession with social media. So what kind of selfies contribute to these issues?
Well, that much might be said about all of them, depending on who you ask. The one question that might hit closer to home is- what kind of selfie taker are you?
Recent a group of BYU communications master’s students, feeling themselves surrounded by the selfie-saturated culture that is social media, decided to ask the question: what is the method to the selfie madness? This has proven to not just be a millennial problem, because your uncle and aunt do it, just like your bosses and teachers. Grandma might not be all that good at it, but she takes plenty of selfies anyway.
So why do people of all ages, cultures, genders and religions take and share selfies?
Are We All Narcissists?
Some people would say that ‘this generation’ is so self-absorbed, but again; it isn’t just one group. The answer, at least one we hear so often, is simply narcissism. But are we all narcissists?
Naaaaaaah, can’t be.
Actually, in a study recently published in Visual Communication Quarterly, those same five BYU student researchers took a closer look. In their data they show that individuals’ motives often range far past self-obsession. Sometimes our selfies are actually taken with purpose, whether we notice or not.
Steven Holiday, who completed his master’s in 2015 and is now pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, is one of the co-authors. Of this latest topic Holiday states,
“It’s important to recognize that not everyone is a narcissist,”
So to be clear on the idea of true narcissism and the connection we often misguidedly make to selfies, we should look at the definition. To refresh your memory:
- Narcissism is defined as the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride.
- Narcissistic personality disorder(NPD) – is a condition that is estimated to affect only 1% of the population.
After analyzing survey results and interviews, researchers say they can identify three categories of selfie-takers:
These are individuals who take selfies primarily to engage with others for some reason. They don’t just do it for their face on a cause, but to draw followers into a conversation. One of the survey’s co-authors and current student Maureen “Mo” Elinzano states,
“They’re all about two-way communication,”
So it isn’t about the spotlight on them, it’s about shining to give others a reason to shine.
An example of this is when the election season came around and everyone, including celebrities, took an “I voted” selfie to plaster on Instagram. These photos aren’t (always) meant to brag about the individual, they are about calling others to action. People talk a lot about opinions on social media, so some people take a selfie as an opportunity to inspire action.
This type of selfie taker uses the art of the selfie as a tool to record key events in their lives. This autobiography isn’t necessarily to show off to their followers, but to try and preserve significant memories for themselves and their loved ones.
This group of selfie takers does also want others to see their photos and enjoy them, but they aren’t necessarily doing it for the feedback. They are cataloging their lives for their own benefit, not for the engagement that the Communicators are.
For example, plenty of people will have entire albums on Facebook dedicated to specific trips or events. They don’t (always) organize these specifically for likes as much as they do for their trips down memory lane.
This infamous category is the one everyone typically assumes a selfie taker falls into, but it is actually the smallest of the three groups. These are the ones who are closely linked to more narcissistic characteristics.
The coauthor Harper Anderson states the self-publicists “are the people who love documenting their entire lives,”
Harper Anderson, who is also now pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, went on to say that in recording and sharing their entire lives, these selfie takers are hoping to present their narrative in a trendy and desirable light.
Think the Kardashians. Without any real sustenance, these selfies are just for the sake of “look at me everyone” without actually having a connection to a cause.
Personally, I present the idea of a collage style world where sometimes we blur these lines a bit. Some people may read these three types and say “I do all of these” and I get that. Perhaps we are all likely to have varied traits, but perhaps we can admit that one of these styles is our dominant selfie taking self. In this event, we can more closely examine if we are impacting our mental health; maybe even that of others.
Holiday went on to describe that identifying and categorizing the three groups is valuable in part because-
“…it’s a different kind of photography than we’ve ever experienced before…I can go on Facebook or Instagram and see that people have a desire to participate in a conversation. It’s an opportunity for them to express themselves and get some kind of return on that expression.”
Another co-author Matt Lewis states
“…years from now, our society’s visual history is going to be largely comprised of selfies. To find out why people do it, that contributes a lot to the discussion on selfies and visual communication in general.”
Our world isn’t just one picture at a time. Every moment is a collage of events happens simultaneously. We exchange the currency of our stories through an ever-expanding network of social media sites and while at times we may seem obsessive or impulsive, at least we are trying to use our new tools to connect.
It may seem strange, but I do think that regardless of whether you’re climbing a mountain in Africa, raising awareness for people struggling somewhere, or simply showing off your new hair-cut, we all have something to offer.
We all have something worth sharing.
Take that selfie. Post it. Let the “double tap” fall where it may.
The selfie is like a socially accepted addiction, and while mental health has been a close conversation to it, we hope that we can continue to learn from our compulsions and be able to help others. Mental health issues and drug or alcohol abuse frequently co-exist. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
If you track the sensational media stories over, say, the past five years, they have increasingly described people suffering exhaustion after playing video games for 50 hours straight, teens killing their parents for taking away their games, and parents neglecting infants while being mesmerized by the online world.
To those who recognize Video Game Addiction, it is described as an excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games, which interferes with a person’s everyday life…Video game addiction may present as compulsive game-playing; social isolation; mood swings; diminished imagination; and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other events in life.”
Yet not everyone agrees that video game addiction is a real thing.
“I do not believe that the concept of addiction is useful,” says Jackson Toby, emeritus professor of sociology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “It only describes strong temptations; it does not explain strong temptations. What makes the temptation so strong? The memory of past pleasant experiences with the behaviour that we are talking about, in this case video games.” Toby added, “I don’t believe that someone can be addicted to video games.”
Is Video Game Addiction a Real Thing?
Though most people think ‘drugs or alcohol’ when they hear the term addiction, the medical community recognizes certain behaviors to be addictive, as well. In a WebMD feature on the definition of addiction, psychiatrist Michael Brody, MD, describes the following criteria for an addiction:
- The person needs more and more of a substance or behavior to get through the day
- If the person does not get more of the substance or behavior, they become irritable and miserable
Kimberly Young, PsyD, clinical director of the Center for On-Line Addiction and author of Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction — and a Winning Strategy for Recovery says compulsive gaming meets these criteria; she has even seen severe withdrawal symptoms in who she’s deemed game addicts. “They become angry, violent, or depressed. If [parents] take away the computer, their child sits in the corner and cries, refuses to eat, sleep, or do anything.” Young tells WebMD, “It’s a clinical impulse control disorder;” an addiction in the same sense as compulsive gambling.
Back in 2012, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) said it would not be listing video game addiction as a mental disorder in that year’s edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). However, the APA added that it was considering including an appendix consisting of reward-seeking behavioral disorders, such as video game and internet addiction, so as to “encourage further study.”
In May 2013, the American Psychiatrist Association (APA) proposed criteria for video game addiction in the DSM, again stating that there was not enough evidence to support including it as an official mental disorder. However, proposed criteria for “Internet Gaming Disorder” are included in Section 3, Conditions for Further Study. While Internet Gaming Disorder is proposed as a disorder, it is still unclear as to whether obsessive and compulsive gaming is a result of – to some extent – other psychological disorders.
“People play those games often in a desire to meet their social needs,” said Hilarie Cash, a Washington state therapist who runs a six-bed inpatient program for internet and video game addicts. “There’s a sense of friendship and self-esteem you develop with your team-mates, you can compete and be co-operative. It really feels as though it meets your social needs.”
Do you experience obsessive thoughts and nagging compulsions to engage is certain behaviors? Has it made your life unmanageable – causing strained relationships, financial problems, and other negative consequences? Do you feel irritable and moody when you try to stop? It might be time to seek professional help. Call an Addiction Specialist today at toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
As technology advances and as our thoughts and actions as a society focus more and more on social media and staying connected through technology, many have alluded to the idea that people are slowly but surely become the catalyst for a new addiction. You would think this a parody, but it is a scary truth that there is actually a specific sidewalk out there designed for ‘texters’, showing the dependence on cell-phones like a drug is a concept that typically flies under the radar, and even though a lot of people joke about it, the cellphone addiction may be as real as real life. We are literally beginning to adjust our environment to sustain the need to stay in constant communication and keep our every idea and action in circulation through apps and texts.
Texting and Walking?
We are already being reminded pretty consistently to put away our smartphones when we are driving around, but there are very few warnings when it comes to being so deeply immersed in them, which is pretty much all the time, when we walk around. Now Chongqing City in China has actually come up with a innovative and truly hilarious way to highlight the growing issue. The city has actually created a special ‘texters’‘lane!
The 50-meter (165-foot) stretch of pavement is divided into two halves for maximum walking efficiency. One lane appropriately labeled “cell phones, walk at your own risk” and the other lane marked “no cell phones”, is located at the city’s Foreigner Street. Now given Foreigner Street is a theme park that is known for its strange and unique collection of “all the best of what ain’t from China“. So this newest addition is not too much out of character for the area.
According to the officials who had the formidable task of painting the two lanes in mid-September, they got the idea from a similar experiment that National Geographic conducted for an episode of the upcoming series, Mind over Masses in Washington DC, in July 2014.
Among the attractions of Foreigner Street that draw visitors in by the thousands every single day, are recreations of international landmarks that include a miniature New York City, the Venetian Canals and even though it is not technically foreign, a 150-meter (492-foot) replica of the ‘Great Wall of China’ made the cut as a featured exhibit.
Investigating the Impact
Unfortunately, according to National Geographic the pedestrians did not in either case respect the guidelines set forth in order to regulate the two lanes and improve the traffic of commuters. And why would this be? Probably a pretty easy answer when you think about it, most of the people walking on the sidewalk were too busy with their minds so thoroughly engaged with their cell phones to even heed or even notice the momentary pavement segregation! The irony of which should be lost on no one.
Funnier still is that those that did acknowledge the lines either chose to ignore the separation, or followed it for a short length of the walk. However, they too soon became too fell victim to the compulsion to escape into the world of their cell phones, and inevitably they veered off to the ‘no cell phone’ trail without even realizing it. Showing that even when they knew they should have stayed off their phones to stay in that lane, they would still need to reach that technology for some sort of strange security of to appease some obsession.
Though the visitors to Foreigner Street do notice the special lane, they seem to treat it like another entertaining addition to this unusual park and did exactly what the park officials are encouraging them not to! People immediately pulled out their cell phones to take pictures, which they undoubtedly had to share with friends over apps and texts. That is with or without the filters, depending on personal preference.
So while the general assumption may remain that distracted cell-phone walking may not represent a real threat, a study conducted in 2010 performed by researchers at The Ohio State University (O-H!) revealed that distracted cell-phone walking actually played a major role in over 1,500 severe injuries! These incidents were ranging from people falling off walkways or bridges, to people even walking into oncoming traffic! This study pointed out a major concern, but only for people who walk… like ever. Or even people traveling by bike.
Simply put; we all need to take into consideration the fact that even though getting enough ‘likes’ on pictures of ourselves or our cats or sending that ‘urgent’ text about what you are and are not willing to ‘turn down’ for may be pretty important, the risks can be more costly than we care to admit. Is it possible that we can become powerless over our texting, and how much of life does it stand to make unmanageable?
Some addictions are easier to see than others, and an addiction to your smartphone might be a little easier to treat. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a dangerous and over-all devastating disease, and it claims more lives every day, but there is hope. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
For some people a healthy sex life can turn into a sexual addiction without them even realizing it. And it’s not something to be taken lightly. Often, you hear people say jokingly that they are addicted to sex or a ‘sex addict,’ mostly because they want to boast about their sexual prowess, whether real or imaginary. But sexual addiction is a real thing just like drug addiction, and, in fact, the tell-tale signs are pretty much the same between the two. Below are 5 signs that you’re a sex addict.
5 Signs You’re a Sex Addict: Neglecting Relationships
A sex addict will gradually yet eventually replace time spent with friends and family with a continual pursuit of activities for their sexual gratification. Time with friends and family loses its appeal, as sex becomes the only thing that matters to a sex addict. That’s because, the sex addict can no longer take pleasure in time with friends and family and the shame and despair of those feelings creates a vicious cycle of addiction. Eventually most sex addicts will even give up sex with committed partners to pursue the types of sexual gratification that feed their addiction.
5 Signs You’re a Sex Addict: Increased Tolerance
Just as those addicted to substances build a tolerance to their drug of choice, a sex addict will experience a level of tolerance to the addictive behavior. This means it will require more and more frequent sexual gratification or adding more thrill-seeking sexual practices to maintain the level of pleasure gained from sex. The sex addict spends more time on seeking sexual pleasure than on their personal relationships, sacrificing those relationships and perpetuating the cycle of their sex addiction. Eventually tolerance can build to the point that the sexual addiction completely takes over an addict’s life.
5 Signs You’re a Sex Addict: Risking Finances
Sex addiction can even reach a point where the sex addict is taking too much time away from a job or they might get to the point of spending large amounts of money to support their sex addiction, which can result in destroying family finances, just like a drug addiction. Sexual addiction can take the form of internet porn, collecting pornographic materials, spending large amounts of time and money at strip clubs, or seeking out prostitutes. A sexual addiction can be costly to maintain and frequently sexual addicts eventually come to the point where they cannot feed their addiction and keep a job at the same time.
5 Signs You’re a Sex Addict: Risking Health and Safety
Another similarity between drug addiction and sex addiction is that the addict will engage in increasingly risky behaviors in order to fulfill their need for a fix. Risky behaviors related to sexual addiction include having multiple partners, unprotected sex, or sex with strangers as well as hooking up with anonymous people met online or at bars. This increases the risk of encountering physical danger as well as contracting a sexually transmitted disease and, because of the secretive nature of sex addiction, addicts can go on to infect their spouses or partners as well.
5 Signs You’re a Sex Addict: Compulsive Sex
Some sex addicts will come to realize that their sex lives are out of control and they may even want to stop but, the obsession and compulsion to get their next fix overpowers their good intentions and the cycle continues. This is the nature of addiction. Just like other addicts, most sex addicts cannot stop or control their behavior on their own. Recovery from sexual addiction is a lifelong struggle requiring professional help or long-term membership in a support group.
If you or a loved one is struggling with sex addiction, drug addiction, or substance abuse please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135