Obsessive selfie taking is the symptom of a real mental disorder
Despite all our protestations, we can't deny that we all love a good selfie. I mean, we have to immortalise our experiences, travels and relationships somehow. And how else would we show off to some standoffish family member or the other come Christmas time, if we didn't come armed with an arsenal of selfies featuring monuments such as the Taj Mahal and our newest love interest? It's certainly not with our actual accomplishments, that's for sure.
However, researchers have recently concluded that selfie taking can be taken too far. No, I'm not referring to that select group of people who choose to wield selfie sticks, or those who incessantly post pictures on Instagram. In fact, "Selfitis" - or the obsessive taking of selfies - has been classified as a genuine mental condition.
Researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management, India have tested a framework for assessing the severity of Selfitis. They deduced that there are three strains of the condition: "borderline", "acute" and "chronic".
"Borderline" Selfitis occurs when people take at least three selfies a day, but refrain from posting them on social media. People are classified as "acute" sufferers of Selfitis when they take at least three selfies a day, and actually post them online. If it's a "chronic"condition, on the other hand, people feel an almost uncontrollable urge to take photos of themselves, and post them to their social media platforms over six times a day.
The study involved two focus groups of 200 participants. And the eventual paper was written by Dr Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University, who surmised:
"This study arguably validates the concept of selfitis and provides benchmark data for other researchers to investigate the concept more thoroughly and in different contexts.
The concept of selfie-taking might evolve over time as technology advances, but the six identified factors that appear to underlie selfitis in the present study are potentially useful in understanding such human-computer interaction across mobile electronic devices.
The physiologists found that those who suffer from Selfitis were generally attention seekers who lacked self esteem. Such individuals would use selfies and photo-sharing platforms to bolster their social standing, and to make it seem as if they were part of a wider community.
Dr Mark Griffiths added, "As with internet addiction, the concepts of Selfitis and selfie addiction started as a hoax, but recent research including the present paper has begun to empirically validate its existence."
Well, this research will sure have many people re-evaluating how often they take selfies. But, it's evident that you have to have an awful lot of time on your hands to suffer from the more serious strains of Selfitis, I mean, thinking up captions and deciding what is emojis to include can take quite a bit of thought.