By now, it’s likely that you’ve seen the selfie taken by Ellen DeGeneres at the Academy Awards earlier this week. Perhaps you even retweeted it yourself, along with over three million others, breaking the record at Twitter. And actively participating in the event allowed you to feel more connected to the celebrities who were featured in it – Ellen, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Kevin Spacey.
Or are you one of the 40% of Baby Boomers who admitted in a recent Pew Research survey that they don’t know what a selfie is, even though the term was chosen as the 2013 “Word of the Year” by Oxford Dictionary? [Full disclosure: I didn’t know what a selfie was until last fall.]
According to the Pew study, Millennials – young adults ages 18 to 31- are the most likely group to post selfies on social media sites – 55% of them have done so. They are the most comfortable generation using all the 21st century digital technologies, having grown up with them. But every generation has increased their image and video on-line postings over the past year. Connecting with others has become a goal in itself and we enjoy putting ourselves out there for others to see.
Yet even Millennials agree with their elders that sometimes all this sharing is disclosing just too much information. In the past we may have included only photos about important events but now we tend to post all kinds personal shots. Does this reflect our self-absorption or a sincere desire to reach out and interact with others? Does the viewer feel a bit like being asked over to a neighbor’s house to watch a lengthy slide show from their visit to Niagara Falls? Let us know what you think about selfies and their growing use – you can add your comments in the “Leave a Reply” section below.
As parents, there may be additional issues that concern you about your kids’ selfies and posts. If you think your children are spending too much time on the Internet and all the attendant social media, here are some tips from our Resources to help get them unplugged. And if they’ve posted a selfie that includes inappropriate personal material, you may want to stress the importance of personal privacy to your kids.