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Why Selfies Do More Harm Than Good

Why Selfies Do More Harm Than Good

Guess one reason why aliens do not want to visit planet Earth. An obvious one is that the whole planet is addicted to posting selfies on the Internet, so aliens would hardly get a look in!

Yesterday morning, a major Italian daily newspaper, which is supposed to be a quality paper, published a selfie of the ex Pope Benedict XVI. It was taken by some visiting priest, no doubt. When I saw this, I knew it was time for me to leave the planet, but before I do, I must write this post on why selfies do more harm than good. At least, I will have achieved something during my earthly life.

Let us get the good out of the way. Good? Well, it shows that you can manage a smartphone or web camera. Then it gets you more likes and comments on your social network account. Finally, it shows everyone what you look like and no, it’s not really narcissism. Just blame it on Narcissus, ok? He started the whole trend a long time ago and he didn’t even have a smartphone.

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    But surely posting selfies is a perfectly innocent and worthwhile activity? Why not post a selfie of yourself, you and your friend, and you and your cat on Instagram? Well, if it is taken to excess, then it really is doing a lot of harm, just like smoking too many cigarettes or becoming an alcoholic or a workaholic. Here are 5 top reasons why it could get out of hand.

    1. Selfies create privacy risks.

    Facebook is using face recognition technology (DeepFace Project) already and some experts argue that this is illegal. It is alarming to think that Facebook processes 350 million photos every day. That is providing invaluable information for commercial and other types of exploitation.

    But law enforcement agencies such as the FBI may have access to all this data for identifying criminals and terrorists. But the new “faceprint” may soon be in use for ATMs and other useful purposes such as unlocking your iPhone and even paying by credit card.

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      The NSA have not been lagging behind either. Astonishingly, they can match satellite photos with any photos taken outside to identify the exact spot where that photo was taken. What about photographs taken indoors? Now, that is scary!

      Basically, the message is that anything you do or download on your computer leaves a digital trail.

      2. Selfies can cause an addiction.

      Trying to get that perfect selfie for your Instagram account? Don’t try too hard because it can get addictive and you may become obsessed. An extreme example is the story of Danny Bowman who ended up trying to commit suicide. The reason for his desperation? He just could not get that perfect selfie after trying for 10 hours a day. The average was about 200 selfies a day. His mother saved his life and he is now doing some rehabilitation. He is gradually learning to live without his iPhone.

      3. Selfies can damage real relationships.

      Did you know that your real friends can end up disliking you when you post too many selfies? It can damage friendships and relationships. This was the startling conclusion reached by researchers at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. They found that it negatively impacts levels of intimacy.

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        4. Posting too many selfies is not a disorder yet.

        Have you heard about the prank which some people played on the American Psychiatric Association? The pranksters posted a bulletin claiming than the new disorder was called “selfitis.” There were three stages in the disease which ranged from borderline (about 3 selfies a day) to chronic “selfitis” where you take photos of yourself all day and then post them at least six times a day. This went viral and people were getting worried. Once the dust settled, the joke was revealed.

        Well, it is not a disorder yet, but watch this space! The story of Danny Bowman is a little scary, quite honestly.

        5. Selfies place too much emphasis on physical appearance.

        Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could post photos of a person’s honesty, tolerance and kindness on Facebook? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. Yes, there is now even the bottom-selfie which is called the belfie. At the moment, everything is so physical and human values are getting shoved to the bottom (pardon the pun!) of the agenda.

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        sexy selfie

          But this craze may hide a tendency towards narcissm. In extreme cases, an emotional trauma usually involving a separation or abandonment occurs. The person constructs a sort of shield and his emotional age is blocked from when the traumatic event happened. He becomes totally absorbed with himself and is usually socially and emotionally isolated.

          Now, just in case you have any doubts, why not take the narcissist quiz here, instead of taking another selfie?

          Featured photo credit: #selfie/Alexandra Shertzer via flickr.com

          More by this author

          Robert Locke

          Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

          The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

          1. Understand Yourself Better

          Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

          Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

          2. Keep Track of Small Changes

          I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

          Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

          3. Become Aware of What Matters

          As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

          You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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          4. Boost Creativity

          The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

          When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

          You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

          5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

          A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

          Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

          6. Process Life Experiences

          When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

          Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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          7. Stress Relief

          In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

          Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

          8. Provide Direction

          Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

          One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

          9. Solve Problems

          Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

          Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

          When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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          10. Find Relief From Fighting

          Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

          Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

          11. Find Meaning in Life

          Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

          12. Allow Yourself to Focus

          Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

          13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

          When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

          14. Let the Past Go

          I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

          15. Allow Freedom

          Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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          16. Enhance Your Career

          Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

          Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

          17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

          All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

          18. Catalog Your Life for Others

          No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

          We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

          Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

          Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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