A Closer Look At Selfie: Its Pros And Cons For Kids
Do you think only the millennials or the so-called selfie generation are selfie buffs? My 9-year-old boy is a post millennial baby and has learned to take selfie from the age of 4 or 5. He was not even using a smartphone but only an old Nokia cellphone with a 3.2 MP camera.
Not that I was a neglectful or a permissive parent. Admittedly, however, I allowed my son to explore too much, which meant taking as many photos of himself and almost every part of his face.
At first, it really amused me how a preschooler could come up with those shots. I am sharing a few here from my son's collection that I actually shared on Facebook. As a proud mom, I can tell you how I found selfie to be beneficial for kids. Believe me -- taking selfies is more than just a penchant or a hobby.
Selfie enhances our kids' creativity.
Taking selfies represents a new modern form of free play. As children experiment with various subjects, shots and angles, you'll be amazed with their captured photo composition and effects. You might not even believe the pictures were taken by your little boy or girl.
When I first saw the photo above in its original vertical format, I had to ask, "How in the world did he come up with such a dramatic effect?" I learned that he had made use of a broken microphone, with my son's eye peeping through the bigger hole of the cylinder and the cellphone camera lens right on the other end with the smaller hole.
Selfie unveils and develops our kids' visual intelligence.
It brings out the artist in them. Not everyone is into taking pictures, but those who are keener to do it are more visual themselves.
My little boy is visual or visually intelligent. He's good in drawing, and he gets to hone his photography skills early enough by experimenting with different selfies.
Selfie boosts a child's self esteem.
Not all kids like taking selfies. Some are nonchalant about it for whatever reasons. But those who are into it just for fun seemingly are more curious, carefree and secured with how they will appear on their photos.
My son doesn't care if he looks ugly with his mouth opened so wide. On the other hand, I see how it affirms him when I appreciate his creativity or the beauty of his work of art.
When is the time to beware? Anything that goes unrestrained or out of control can be threatening. I can name a few downsides here after witnessing how my son quickly got so immersed in taking tons of selfies.
Selfie may create a narcissist.
When one is already obsessed with taking selfies, the focus is no other than the self. And so without proper guidance, the child may become insensitive to his surroundings. Instead of getting to know other people and learning to reach out to others, it will eventually be an "all about me" narrow perspective.
Don't wait until it's too late. Better come up with activities that will redirect attention to interpersonal relationships and selfless goals.
Selfie may lead to exhibitionism.
I laughed out loud when a friend posted something like this on Facebook: "We like posting on social media because we are exhibitionists." My friend may not have intended it as a joke, but it made me laugh.
What is not funny anymore is when you see your kid going too far. Our selfie boy went as far as taking pictures of his private part out of his own curiosity and playfulness. Other kids may have beeen doing it, too. But it's not an excuse to make it permissible. Even though he couldn't post on social media yet, I had to be cautious and explain to him that it was already below the belt and should be avoided.
An overload of kids' selfie may crash your gadget and fill in your memory card or built-in storage.
Fortunately, my kid was using an old cellphone! Although one of the most durable ones, it got overused. No wonder after a while the camera stopped functioning.
Now with new gadgets, I have to watch out my son's usage of our iPad and Android phone. I make sure that the storage and memory card are not getting full with selfie photos.
A dose of selfie has its advantages. The drawbacks undoubtedly arise from an addiction or a "selfie overdose." If we are a present mom or dad who is concerned whether our child is going overboard or not, we will be able to prevent unhealthy selfie and its repercussions. For sure, no one wants to raise a selfie addict or a narcissist, much more an exhibitionist.
For me, I want to nurture the creative artist in my boy. So I will continue to be his fan while at the same time guiding him -- and this time carefully ensuring that he doesn't go beyond what is healthy and acceptable selfie.