Positive Online Identity for National Selfie Day

This National Selfie Day (Sunday the 21st of June, 2020), let’s take a look at positive online identity and the role selfies have come to play in young people’s lives online.

While social media has proven to have some negative social fallout, there is a lot more to young people’s obsession with documenting their lives with photo posts and live videos of themselves. The meteoric rise of ‘The Selfie’ in parallel with social media, isn’t just a result of vanity but in fact plays an important role in a lot of young people’s personal development of self-confidence and identity.

Instagram currently has over 400 million photos hashtagged with #selfie, as well as over 400 million photos hashtagged #me, now consider on top of that, the millions of selfies online that aren’t hashtagged.

Let’s take a look at what brought about this phenomenon.

The rise of the selfie

While selfies becoming a common occurrence within society is a modern development, the concept of selfies can be seen throughout history, with numerous examples of self-portraits within the confines of art and photography across time. With great technological advancement in recent years, it has become increasingly easier to capture and document photos of ourselves with the invention of things like self-timers, photo booths and instant cameras, not to mention the forward-facing cameras on smartphones that have now skyrocketed the use of selfies. Now, lots of apps such as Instagram and Snapchat are designed to help you take interesting and unique selfies, with the inclusion of unique filters and creative options for changing your appearance.

There can be risks associated with taking selfies. The office of the eSafety Commissioner has advice on what you and your child can do if they face bullying and harassment online as a result of a selfie or other social media post.

All that being said, selfies can also be positive, formative experiences for young people.

Selfies can help young people to:

  • figure out more about who they are and what they want
  • capture and share memories of exciting and important events
  • connect with their friends and peers
  • have fun and express themselves
  • embrace their own personal appearance/build self-confidence

Selfies, social media and self-confidence

Young people value taking and sharing selfies as an important way to express themselves and connect with friends online. You can help your child to build a positive online presence by talking with them about the different ways that you can represent yourself online and the positive and negative impacts selfies can have on self-confidence.

Consider having a discussion with your child about the following topics:

  • having fun and taking photos together
  • what healthy online relationships look like
  • balancing social media with offline interests
  • what their definition of ‘oversharing’ is
  • how to create a positive ‘personal brand’
  • how to control and delete comments and posts that can appear on your social media networks.

ways and places to get support other than from the social media platform you are using, for example the Office of the eSafety Commissioner website, Kids HelplineHeadspaceBe You and ReachOut.com.

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