Research, Opinions, and Secrets

In an article focusing on the impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families, it was determined and stated that engaging in various forms of social media is a routine activity that research has shown to benefit children and adolescents by enhancing communication, social connection, and even technical skills. While these sites offer daily opportunities for connecting with friends, classmates, and people with shared interests, the amount of times children and adolescents are logging in to chat, like, and share has increased in the last 5 years fairly heavily. According to the article, 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on to to a social media site more than once a day. However, keep in mind the availability our generation and the generations below us have in order to do this. Eating lunch in the cafeteria means scrolling on Facebook, waiting for a class to start means checking out Twitter, and so on. Thus, boredom also aids us in keeping up to date with the digital world.


"Because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media," the article states. With issues like sexting, Facebook depression, and cyber-bullying, the digital age is still equipped with several downfalls and flaws. The positives, however, outweigh the negatives, according to the text. With opportunities for community engagement through raising money, enhancement of individual and collective creativity through development, and a medium made for the growth of ideas in the form of blogs, podcasts, photos, and videos, social media participation can offer adolescents deeper benefits than we think.

When we put those positives in line with selfies, however, where do the negatives and positives fall? Do children, adolescents, and teens become addicted to posting pictures of themselves? Do they crave the attention they become susceptible to? Do they yearn for likes and comments littered with compliments? It seems these questions are all up for debate.

Re-Making Our Bodies

While apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp and image-centered social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr are growing in numbers of users and of importance, our communication is taking place primarily through images. An article, focusing on how images and selfies are re-making the body, explains that images are playing an important role in how we experience being in the world and how we are shaping our world as well.

In the article, it is discussed that women's bodies are most always and continuously seen as imperfect, however, with the use of images and selfies, there is a question of empowerment displayed in the form of pictures. With an experiment in mind, researchers set out to open the boundaries and smash down the barriers that associate women with feeling powerless about their bodies. The goal was to open with how selfies and partaking in the community can make women feel powerful enough to welcome body experiences that counter the normative discourses. Thus, it was important for researchers to also spotlight how the active strategies of taking selfies and sharing selfies open up women's potentialities of experiencing their bodies.

When the experiment concluded, it was found that women tend to take ownership of their bodies or body images when they experiment with selfies. They use them as knowledge devicess which allow them to become something more than unfinished projects.

An excerpt from the experiment, participant:

"so … the other day I took a picture of me doing a back bend and … it was amazing to see the muscles. Today that was a big part of me going to the gym. I felt like I wanted to take that picture and tape it on my fridge and make THAT my motivation. Not somebody else’s body. MINE."

When taking selfies, primarily photographic or mirror images, it was found that participants were able to capture their bodies in a way that allowed the participant to have a specific understanding of how their body looked. In addition, it was found that when a participant took a video of themselves, it was actually more accurate than if someone else had taken the photo for them. It is also common for women to dislike photos of them that were taken by other people and to like and enjoy photos more when they are taken by themselves, or acting as a "self-shooter." Posting the finished selfies, which garner comments, likes, and interactions from others meant the participants are able to check on their bodies and the posted selfie is able to give them reassurance. Overall, according to the article, it was determined that the act of taking selfies and posing for them is simply a practice of freedom.

"Self-shooters" are able to take photos of themselves at an angle that they find flattering for them.

Like above, Jessie Battistini used a similar angle and tilt of her head to get the photo she wanted of herself in a way she felt was flattering.

The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families
Pediatrics: The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Gwenn Schurgin O'Keefe, Kathleen Clarke-Pearson and Council on Communications and Media
March 28, 2011

Selfies, Image and the Re-Making of the Body
Body & Society
Katrin Tiidenberg, Edgar Gomez Cruz
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