What's your opinion on selfies

How can selfies affect my child's self-esteem and mental health?

We asked our experts for advice on issues children face while posting pictures online and how parents can assist them.

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Selfies and Mental Health

How can parents ensure that the cult of the “perfect selfie” does not negatively affect their child's body image / mental health?

The selfie phenomenon is like a mirror that follows you for around 24 hours a day. And not just to follow you, but to give you a minute-by-minute report on friends, colleagues and celebrities.

My advice is simple; Talk to your children. As adults, we understand that the world of social media, like any other form of media, is stage-controlled, but we often forget to reinforce that message to our own children. Explain that people are not perfect and talk to them about girls who post - who takes all those perfect photos? How many shots do you think they took to get that perfect angle?

It is equally important to talk to them about what they publish so that they do not sink into the cult of perfection. Real life is what you see all around you, not just what you see through an iPhone's filtered lens. Discuss why it is important to break away from the “constructed” identities that we all find necessary to evolve online, and underline the idea of ​​being free for who you really are.

Keep track of who they follow and what they post on sites like Instagram, and talk to them about the impact their pictures could have on other people.

Influence of social media on self-esteem

What advice would you give parents who have noticed that what they see on social media is negatively affecting their child's self-esteem?

Access to social media platforms offers young people a valuable opportunity to explore different sides of their identity. However, it is worthwhile to discuss with your child whether what they find on social media is having a negative impact on their self-esteem.

The discussions I've had with young people in schools across the country have focused on the particular effects of selfies on self-esteem. Many young people said that if there weren't enough "likes" they would delete a selfie they posted, and some told me that if they were less than 50, they would be annoyed and even "ashamed" Likes ".

It's worth talking to your child about how they're feeling on social media:

Instead of comparing themselves to others online, encourage them to celebrate what makes them unique

Talk to them about how everyone edits what they post online so that only the best bits are shown. So what you see on social media isn't always entirely realistic

Encourage them to take part in activities outside of social media and meet friends offline

If you'd like your child's school to do some activities on this topic, check out our resources here: www.antibullyingpro.com/selfies-selfesteem-resource

Encouraging images to use forever

How do young people use the power of the image to make a positive difference? Can pictures and videos be a driving force?

On Safer Internet Day, it will be inspiring to see young people around the world come together to help "be the change" and make the internet a better place for everyone.

We know from research to be launched for Safer Internet Day that young people use the power of images and videos to make a positive difference in a variety of ways.

Whether that should support her friends, as one young person said to us: “I have shared videos and pictures of myself with my friend to show her how much I care about her and how much her friendship means to me when she does going through a difficult time ”.

Or empower and inspire others by standing up for things they believe in and raising awareness, whether it be by sharing a selfie without makeup, making informative videos, or changing their profile picture.

We must support this and try to empower young people to harness the positive power of selfies and other pictures and videos, to be engaged digital citizens and to promote self-esteem and self-confidence, to protect themselves and also to care for their friends take care of. This is the focus we at the UK Safer Internet Center are co-hosting with hundreds of schools and organizations across the country on Safer Internet Day.

How can selfies be used sensibly online?

Selfies - and the people who take them - are often referred to as "narcissistic", "vain" and "self-obsessed". However, research has shown that the simple act of taking a picture can increase self-esteem and confidence.

In this day and age, loving yourself is a revolutionary act despite the unrealistic standards of beauty we are exposed to via mainstream media. Ditch the Label's study found that 1 in 2 of us would like to change the look. People like 13 are now thinking about plastic surgery, botox, and liposuction to feel good about themselves.

The most important thing to remember with selfies is that we have 100% control over the content. We are photographer, subject and lender at the same time. It's our way of visually communicating with other people and how we present ourselves is entirely up to us - the narration is entirely in our hands. This can be incredibly helpful, especially for young people who want to grapple with their identity or enter a world where the beauty and fashion industries constantly imply the need for "improvement".

Dealing with peer pressure to post

Otherwise, if a child suffers from FOMO (fear of missing out) and pressure from their peers to post pictures, it wouldn't. How can parents be a voice of support for them?

The fear of missing out or FOMO is such a powerful driver - especially in the teenage years. Many of us remember the anticipation / fear that school parties bring with them. These feelings are now amplified significantly as the pictures of this party are shared on social networks, showing who has been included or excluded.

The attraction of being part of the 'in' crowd is great and as a parent it can be easy to forget what it felt like at 13 or 14 and some of the risks involved. In the online world, this can include pressures to share personal pictures that a child thinks will improve their social status.

As a parent, you can't take the pressure off, but you can constantly remind your child that they are valued, loved, and everything about them is precious. This includes their unique identity and privacy. Help them question what they see, why people share so much about themselves, and what the consequences are. You can't keep them from falling every time, but you can cushion their landing.

Build critical reflections on shared images

How can parents advise children to draw the line between innocent and suggestive images?

It is important that parents encourage their children to think about social media and pictures, and think about the idea of ​​the audience, i.e. who can see those pictures. What parents may find suggestive, young people may not immediately think about image in these terms. It is important to talk to children and teenagers about how pictures can be seen by other people.

Posting and sharing suggestive images can leave young people vulnerable to bullying, humiliation, and embarrassment, but they may not think about it at this point. It is vital that we explain their online reputation to our children and talk to them about what a picture suggests.

We need to encourage young people to reflect on how their images are seen by others and that any images posted online are open to interpretation, copying and storage elsewhere and to viewing by unfamiliar people.

Parents are often concerned about these conversations with their children, but research shows that children and teens welcome advice about sex and relationships, and understand how to stay safe online is important.

Internet Matters and Childnet have some wonderful ideas to start these conversations - so let's talk about it !!