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Selfies by Mrs Tobin


Thinking back to the days of my school trips in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I also find myself reminiscing about the time when disposable cameras were top dog. There was nothing more fun that taking silly snaps with friends and then winding the dial on ready to take the next shot. For me, however, the most exciting part was collecting the evidence of our jollity two weeks later from places like Jessops, Snappy Snaps or a booth at your local supermarket. Half of the fun was anticipating how the pictures had turned out and sitting round with friends, reliving the memories.

Since digital cameras and mobile phones have become the norm when it comes to taking photos, the exercise of waiting patiently to see the results from ones school trip, a family event or party, is quite clearly a thing of the past. We are so lucky now, to be able to instantly see the photos we have taken, review them and retake them if we so wish. This means that we no longer have the disappointment of finally collecting developed pictures, only to find that the flash had not worked, or the picture was out of focus. Nor do we now have to take random and pointless pictures of our living room or garden just so we are able to use up the film in order to take it to be developed. There is no denying that modern technology used for photography is amazing!

However, I have found over the past decade that this has led to people becoming more and more obsessed with taking images editing them and checking them before others see them. My 9 year old goddaughter, for example, will more often than not ask to see the picture I have taken of her as soon as I have done so. I am sure that she is doing this purely because she is intrigued, but it is also a learned behaviour that she has developed, from observing people around her doing exactly the same.

Back in 2014, a spoof news story was written talking about a condition called ‘Selfitis’. However, research has now shown that this condition has become a reality. Scientists studying the phenomenon have even developed a Selfitis Behaviour Scale to enable people to see how affected they are by their need to take selfies. Selfitis also runs alongside issues such as Phone Separation Anxiety and nomophobia (the irrational fear of being without your phone).

My friend travelled around India and Nepal a few years ago and made the decision not to take a phone or camera with him. People he met on his travels questioned his decision and wondered how he could enjoy his trip without being able to document his memories. His response was that he wanted to fully absorb his surroundings by experiencing them himself and not through a screen. Although I am sure, going cold turkey like my friend is enough to make some of our blood run cold, I do think that if we were to spend less time focusing on capturing a moment and more time living it, we would inevitably become happier.

To find the Selfitis Behaviour Scale, please click here. 

Posted: 05/02/2018 at 10:47
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