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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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          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

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          Robert Locke

          Freelance writer

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          Last Updated on October 16, 2018

          What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

          What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

          Are you afraid of being alone?  Do you worry about your physical safety or do you fear loneliness? These are strong negative feelings that can impact your health.

          One study found that when older people are socially isolated, there is an increased risk of an earlier death,[1] by as much as 26%.

          If you experience loneliness and are worried about your fear of being alone, study these 6 ways to help you find your comfort zone.

          But first, the good news!

          How many times have you said to yourself, ‘I just can’t wait to be alone’? This might be after a day’s work, an argument with your partner or after a noisy dinner with friends. You need time to be yourself, gather your thoughts, relish the silence and just totally chill out. These are precious moments and are very important for your own peace of mind and mental refreshment.

          But for many people, this feeling is not often present and loneliness takes over. As Joss Whedon once said,

          ‘Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there’.

          Read on and discover how you can exploit being alone to your own advantage and how you can defeat loneliness.

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          1. Embrace loneliness

          When you are alone, it is important to embrace it and enjoy it to the full.

          Wallow in the feeling that you do not have to be accountable for anything you do. Pursue your interests and hobbies. Take up new ones. Learn new skills. Lie on the couch. Leave the kitchen in a mess. The list can go on and on, but finding the right balance is crucial.

          There will be times when being on your own is perfect, but then there will be a creeping feeling that you should not be so isolated.

          When you start to enjoy being alone, these 10 amazing things will happen.

          Once you start feeling loneliness, then it is time to take action.

          2. Facebook is not the answer

          Have you noticed how people seek virtual contacts instead of a live, face-to-face interaction? It is true that social networking can provide an initial contact, but the chances of that becoming a real life personal contact is pretty slim.

          Being wrapped up in a cloud of sharing, liking and commenting (and insulting!) can only increase loneliness.

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          When you really want company, no one on Facebook will phone you to invite you out.

          3. Stop tolerating unhappy relationships

          It is a cruel fact of life that people are so scared of loneliness that they often opt into a relationship with the wrong person.

          There is enormous pressure from peers, family and society in general to get married or to be in a stable, long-term relationship. When this happens, people start making wrong decisions, such as:

          • hanging out with toxic company such as dishonest or untrustworthy people;
          • getting involved with unsuitable partners because of the fear of being alone or lonesome;
          • accepting inappropriate behavior just because of loneliness;
          • seeking a temporary remedy instead of making a long-term decision.

          The main problem is that you need to pause, reflect and get advice. Recognize that your fear of being alone is taking over. A rash decision now could lead to endless unhappiness.

          4. Go out and meet people

          It was the poet John Donne (1572 – 1631) who wrote:

          ‘No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent’.

          Human contact is essential to surviving in this world. Instead of wallowing in boredom and sadness, you need to get out as much as possible and seek contacts.

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          Being a member of a group, however tenuous, is a great way. So when you are in the gym, at church or simply at a club meeting, exploit these contacts to enlarge your social circle.

          There is no point in staying at home all the time. You will not meet any new people there!

          Social contacts are rather like delicate plants. You have to look after them. That means telephoning, using Skype and being there when needed.

          Take a look at this guide on How to Meet New People and Make Friends with The Best.

          5. Reach out to help someone in need

          A burden shared is a burden halved.

          Dag Hammarskjold was keenly aware of this fact when he said:

          ‘What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden but this: I have only my own burden to bear’.

          Simply put, it is a two-way street. Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.

          Reach out to help and people will be there when you need them.

          6. Be grateful and count your blessings

          Study after study shows that if people show gratitude, they will reap a bountiful harvest. These include a stronger immune system, better health, more positive energy and most important of all, feeling less lonely and isolated.

          If you do not believe me, watch the video below, ‘What good is gratitude?’  Now here is the path to hope and happiness:

          Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

          Reference

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