Split Decision: Do selfies have an impact on mental health?

Pro: Nichelle Heu

We all seem to be taking self-portraits when no one is looking. We’ve almost all been guilty of taking selfies.

During my freshman year in high school, I was overweight and non-materialistic. I was bullied and body shamed by many of my classmates because of it.

Being bullied didn’t stop me from taking pictures or posting them on social networks.

Although I wasn’t perfect in other people’s eyes, I was beautiful in mine and that’s where building my self-confidence started.

Twenty-five percent of adults described those who take selfies as “attention seeking, 32 percent described them as fun loving, 8 percent were insecure, while 27 percent thought them to be confident,” according to a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by Opinium, a research agency in the United Kingdom.

I wake up every morning and take selfies on my Snapchat, and sometimes throughout the day. I do it because it’s fun.

I also enjoy letting my friends and acquaintances know what I’m doing and where I am.

Regardless of how goofy my selfies may look, I couldn’t care less about other people’s formed opinions of me.

Selfies are fun, can help build confidence and allow those who take them to learn to accept what they believe are flaws.

No matter what you think about yourself or what others think, putting your selfie on a social network takes courage.

Fifty-five percent of girls and 34 percent of teen boys answered “overall, social media makes me feel more self-conscious about my appearance,” according to The Ideal To Real Body Image Survey by TODAY/AOL.

Women, especially, find themselves always wanting to improve and look better, wearing the latest fashion or new makeup.

We’re always on the look-out for the latest and greatest.

“As teens try to form their identity, selfies serve as a way to test how they look,” said Dr. Andrea Letamendi, a clinical psychologist at University of California, Los Angeles in an interview with TIME magazine. “And because they live in a digital world, self-portraits provide a way of participating and      affiliating with that world.”

I follow people on Instagram because I like the way they dress, or makeup gurus to learn other ways to do my make-up.

I later add my own personal twist making it unique from theirs.

I don’t look at others’ selfies while comparing myself to them because everyone is different.

We all have different skin tones, face shape and bodies in general. There’s no one way to be.

Comparing yourself to others only leads to insecurities.

It’s best to accept your flaws and embrace self-love.

If you’re trying to live up to other people’s expectations then you’re no longer you and you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

Instead, you’d just be a mannequin for social media.

When not taking them for the wrong reasons, selfies can be healthy.

Con: Kalaisha Totty

People have become obsessed with the amount of Facebook friends and Instagram followers they have.

We have become a culture that seeks attention from the masses to find worth within ourselves.

Our society is full of self critics. More and more suicides become the result of low self esteem, according to the Suicide Prevention and Support Network.

Selfies, or the act of taking self-portraits, have taken over the world. ‘Look at me eating breakfast.’ ‘Here I am in my new outfit.’

Why do we feel the need for definition by others?

Social acceptance is becoming the trend in everyday life.

There is nothing wrong with appreciating personal looks and sharing them with the world.

Although there is everything wrong with harsh criticism based on a low number of likes on social media.

Mental health has become an increasingly large issue with social media, and now it’s beginning to surface from selfies.

People react negatively to seeing others’ photos get more attention than theirs. There is no blame on a person for posting a photo and getting likes, of course.

The pattern of comparing oneself to others has been a long-standing issue for many.

The introduction of the term ‘internet trolls’ has also been an issue with selfies on social media sites.

Internet trolls are those who have created destructive ways to lower the self-esteem of others in order to gain confidence, by voicing their negative opinions.

There isn’t a way to ban selfies forever, but I propose that we, as a culture, need to shift our self-mentalities and mindsets to uplift and not destroy.

There also isn’t just one resolution to the problem of social media pressures and the negative mental effects that stem from them.

Each individual can learn to love themselves and not look to society to define their worth.

The problem is less targeted at selfies and more at self-love and confidence.

Mental disorders are very real and our society doesn’t make it easy to live with them.

The stresses of only the best looking people are given attention to and their “perfection” being the end goal are only deteriorating the strength of our society.

False images of what we should look like and how we should dress are negatively impacting us all.

From the way we dress to the way we merely live our lives are results of following trends.

We envision those we follow to be cool and we want to be apart of that circle.

Removing the drama by staying away from social media is one way to avoid the feeling of social pressure.

We must find encouragement and a sense of worth within ourselves.

There isn’t one simple way to deal with the effects of social acceptance anxiety, but the first step must be towards self-acceptance and finding power from within.                                               

For many, selfies have way more damaging qualities than they do beneficial.                                            

Ultimately, taking selfies has the potential to be dangerous.