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surrounded

by Se l f i e s The influence of our “look at me” culture Summer Daily

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re selfies related to self-esteem? Do too many selfies indicate narcissistic tendencies? Or are selfies just a harmless trend currently popular in social media? The answer seems to be as individual as each selfie.

In her book It’s Complicated, author dana boyd (her preferred spelling) has researched and written extensively on the subject. After completing a ten-year study on teens’ use of social media, she boiled all of the data down to one point: Our ideas on social media often over-simplify or vilify the topic. Social media, like so many other mediums, has both pros and cons, and its effects depend on how each individual uses it. Selfies, a subset of social media, are no different.

For parents concerned that social media has primarily detrimental effects (like lowering the self-esteem of kids who don’t get many likes on a selfie), according to a study done by Pew Research Center in 2013, 81% of teens who used social media said they have had an online experience that made them feel good. While certainly there are kids who have had very negative experiences online, it seems that it would be a misnomer to think that this was necessarily representative of the general population. The larger issue of social media may be the dangerous consequences of irresponsible online activity. Jennie Noll, PhD, clinical psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, conducts research on how teens present themselves online in ways that might put them at risk for sexual solicitation and exploitation. She sees no evidence that posting selfies may cause low self-esteem or narcissism, but she does see

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CINCINNATIPARENT.COM // MARCH 2015

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