Tuesday, January 23, 2018 | ePaper

Clicking selfies is a mental disorder!

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Life Desk  :
Whether you are on your casual morning jog, driving to work in a rush amid traffic, pushing your way through the queue at an eatery or enjoying a lazy weekend at a movie, at least one person around you is clicking a selfie, if not you yourself. If your day ends without encountering a single selfie-clicking episode, either you were sleeping all day or were minding too much of your own business. That's the kind of selfie-mania we are going through. Now that we have added selfies to our dictionaries already, is it time we add selfiemania too?
Selfitis now a medical condition
A recent study that was conducted in India has affirmed that clicking selfies is actually a medical condition that may require treatment. The condition is being called selfitis and they have also developed the 'Selfitis Behaviour Scale' that can help determine the severity of one's addiction.
The findings of the study were published in International Journal of Mental Health. It classified the condition of selfitis in three levels. First, borderline, that is clicking at least three selfies a day but not posting it on social media. Second, acute, that is clicking at least three selfies a day but posting it on social media. Third, chronic, that is a constant urge to click selfies and posting at least six on social media.
India ranks number one when it comes to accidents related to selfies. The country accounts for almost 60 per cent of the total selfie accidents that happen throughout the world. And yet, sadly, the fact isn't enough to drive people away from this banefulness.
The obsession of clicking selfies is driven from one's psychological condition, any deficits or surpluses of emotion. To understand why the millennials are going crazy about the front cameras of their phones, we talked to Dr JR Ram, consultant psychiatrist, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata, Dr Vasantha R Patri, chairperson, psychologist, Indian Institute of Counselling and Nitika Kumar, a counselling psychologist and a research scholar at University of Delhi.
Why selfies?
A classic study done by psychological researchers Mita, Dermer and Knight in 1977 suggested that when asked to choose between the two, people are more likely to choose and prefer their mirror image to their actual photographs. Further work says that this is so because in general people are more exposed to their mirror image, which means that they're more likely to see themselves in the mirror on a daily basis rather than seeing their photos. This gives them a natural affinity to their mirror images.
"By extension of this line of thought, selfies are only an extension of their own mirror images and therefore, people like their selfies more than their usual photographs. Cut to today's technology, clicking a selfie gives you more control over the kind of light, filters and other factors and the angle at which you wish yourself to be seen," said Nitika.
However, when it comes to driving to insane heights for a selfie that can be life-risking, it is about people trying to demonstrate a "face of themselves they wish to present to the world," said Nitika. For Dr Vasantha, the primary reason of the rising selfie accidents in India is that people now want to show to the world that they have achieved a milestone that none or only a few others have achieved. People are constantly looking for appreciation from others, said Dr Ram. They demonstrate their accomplishments to look daring, bold and different and this in turn gets them attention. "The more daring your selfie is, the more likely you are to be noticed and appreciated by your peers. It's a face that would give them instant approval of their peers," said Nitika.
The looking-glass effect
Of course, demonstration serves them appreciation on the platter but among many other needs too. This will vary from person to person. How much he is affected by others' opinion of him, how much getting more views and likes bother him and how negatively does he take disapproval reflect on how healthy a person is psychologically. Many among the ardent selfie-clickers are looking for the need to self-affirm.
Dr Vasantha calls this the 'looking-glass effect'. It means that you perceive of yourself what others perceive of you. This stems from a 'sense of inadequacy' in oneself, said Dr Vasantha. You want others to applaud you so that you can applaud yourself.
However, when we take into account doing daring deeds to showcase your bravado, Dr Vasantha feels that it is majorly due to the need to demonstrate than anything else.
- TNN

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