Why ‘selfies’ matter

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

No one is as interested in making us look good as we are.

So why do we post so many unflattering pictures of ourselves, on the internet? I guess when there are more than a hundred million pictures anywhere, a bunch of them are not going to be flattering and that’s the phenomenon with what the kids call, “selfies.”

A selfie is a picture you take – typically with your cell phone – of yourself, and then post on the web, usually a social media site. Instagram, alone, has more than 50 million pictures labeled as selfies, making it the most popular site for those kind of pictures among the teen and young adult crowd (they’ve fled Facebook for sites like Instagram and Vine, to get away from Mom and Dad).

The challenge becomes, when your parents aren’t there to act as the guardrails for life, sometimes kids can get in a bit of trouble, posting pictures that they later regret.

“When I go back to look at my MySpace,” said 22-year-old Ericka Faircloth, a senior at UNC-Greensboro. “I am absolutely horrified by the things I posted on MySpace when I was 15-years-old.”

MySpace was where all the kids seemed to gather, seven or eight years ago. But the trends in social media seem to change as quickly as the new one can be invented, often leaving the parents far behind.

But Elon University professor, Buffie Longmire-Avital says parents can’t afford to let their kids navigate these social waters on their own.

“The parent who sits back and says, ‘Okay, this is the trend, this is where people are going, in terms of this is how they’re connecting, socially,’ ” says Longmire-Avital, “ ‘I’m not into it but that’s what kids are doing.’ You can’t do that. You have to be involved, as well.”

But how? What exactly are these selfies, and what are they doing to today’s kids? That’s in this edition of the Buckley Report.