Selfies have become a part of daily life for many Americans, but if you’re taking too many, psychologists say you might have “selfitis.” Sisters Taelor and Tia Smith, and their friend, Tikia Travis, say they snap hundreds of selfies a day.
“It gives me confidence because sometimes I feel you know everything doesn’t translate on camera, but then to turn and see, oh my god my teeth look great, my eyebrows match, this is great,” Taelor Smith said.
But a recent study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction that asked young people in India to report their behavior suggests compulsive selfie-taking can lead to “selfitis.” While it’s not recognized as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, some experts say it appears to be a concerning trend.
“A selfie addiction is when a person is almost obsessively taking selfies, multiple times a day, and posting that to whatever it might be — Snapchat, or Facebook, Instagram,” said Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a professor of psychology at California State University.
Durvasula says if more than 50 percent of your photos are selfies, and you’re using filters frequently, those are red flags.
“More studies are showing this,” she said. “More time spent on social media sites negatively affects people’s self esteem, can make a person less able to cope, more likely to have anxiety, depression — that sort of thing.”
She says to help avoid selfitis, put your phone down and create “selfie-free zones.” If you suspect a friend is addicted to selfies, Durvasula says you can help by not liking, or validating their photos.
As for Taelor Smith, she says she’s not obsessed, she’s just a “selfie connoisseur.”
“Sometimes I just want to get that perfect picture,” she said. “Sometimes it takes 200 times to get it right.”