Selfies, the New Tool for Childhood Expression

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Selfies are to my daughter what my Polaroid camera was to me in the 80s–a tool for documenting her reality and for exploring her own identity.  I sold cards and stationery door-to-door to earn my beloved camera.  Getting my parents to buy film for it often required a great deal of convincing and some hard work around the house or the yard.  I took photos of myself and my environment in ways that today are reminiscent of the selfie-obssessed world we live in.

Just type in the words “psychology of the selfie” to see that today’s technology has spawned a whole lot of thoughts about their contributions to identity formation.  I particularly enjoyed reading the following article on a blog dedicated to helping bloggers get more traffic (perhaps I need to post more selfies on my own blog to generate more interest?): https://blog.bufferapp.com/psychology-of-selfies.  The fact is I do like to look at faces just like everyone else apparently, and my own phone, may it rest in pieces, had its share of selfies on it–mine, my daughter’s and even the occasional smart aleck student who dared sneak into my desk to snap some selfies.

I think faces connect us to each other.  Looking into the eyes of another human being is something often referred to as seeing the soul.  Perhaps, selfies are our feeble attempts to feel more connected to the world we live in when the more technologically advanced we become the more we long to return to basics?  Therefore, we document our every emotion in a 1-inch lens to project into the pixilated universe that is cyberspace hoping desperately to somehow make a human connection?

My beautiful daughter uses the selfie to practice her “faces” and to express all her inner emotions (Inside Out the movie influenced her a lot in this area), but she also uses the selfie and all the photo app.s to express her creativity and to just have fun.  I hear her in the car as I’m driving (selfie hot spot) laughing at some crazy photo she’s just taken of herself using some warped lens or crazy color scheme.  It’s fun to her like a game and keeps her entertained as we run mundane errands or travel long distances.

I’m not convinced the selfie-phase is narcissitic.  It seems to help keep her somehow grounded, and she will tell me that she sees herself growing in the photos she takes.  Her lost front teeth have been featured in her repetoire as has the bright pink (looks like Pepto Bismal) lipstick she was allowed to buy for her last dance recital.  My baby’s growing up before my eyes and documenting it all for me from the backseat of my car.  I think I will one day be really grateful she has left me such a treasure trove of her best little faces.

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