Selfies - good or bad?
Young Australian drivers are taking part in a dangerous craze of taking "selfies" while behind the wheel, prompting harsh warnings from the police and government. There are more than 4.5 million posts on Instagram tagged with #driving, nearly 527,000 tagged with #carselfie, 20,000 with #drivingselfie and more than 78,000 for #drivinghome.
The Oxford Dictionary has named 'selfie' as its word of the year for 2013, an award given to a word or expression that has attracted a significant amount of interest in the past 12 months. Its certainly been used a lot - an increase of 17,000% from the year before and no wonder some of us are fed up with hearing about and seeing selfies!
Almost everyone has taken at least one selfie at some point. Here is one of mine.
Taking one or two occasionally is fine, however many young people are taking 100s and 100s of selfies every day, editing them (so they look better) and posting these photos on the array of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their own blogs. According to one website, we (as a society) post 1 million selfies per day - 1 million. Another article said "17 million per week". Another website stated that 51% of those in the UK have taken selfies and create 35 million each month. Those aged 18-24 are the main culprits of the current selfie obsession.
Whether these figures are accurate or not - the fact is, we are posting huge numbers of selfies on-line every week. Society (or segments of society) are obsessed with themselves, I mean really obsessed with themselves. And to me, this is a tragic and worrying sign of times to come. We have millions of people more interested in taking photos of themselves than being part of their own community. And God certainly isn't on their radar because one cannot think of God when self-absorbed with themselves.
We live in a world of self-worship. Like the Greek mythological figure Narcissus - we have fallen in love with our own reflection and we know what happened to Narcissus, he drowned as he couldn't leave his own imagine.
|Narcissus by Caravaggio (1594-96)|
A segment of the selfie craze is the taking and posting of sexual or glamours shots, usually by young women (copying those women in Hollywood who have posted these sorts of shots such as Kim Kardashian). Why would a young woman place herself in danger of sexual exploitation - because they want to receive praise, they want compliments on "how pretty" they look, they want to be noticed by guys. Sadly, we have a growing number of young women who are lonely, sad, depressed and insecure and they believe through selfies they can boost their self-confidences. They can't and it only makes their problems worse. Whilst many more young males commit suicide - far more young women self harm and this is partly due to their many insecurities and selfies will only exacerbate the problem.
As Christians we do not need to be noticed nor do we need our moment of fame. We are not meant to be part of this world and its many sinful activities. As Christians we need to shine our focus on Christ and not on ourselves. We all struggle with some level of self-glorification, pride and egocentric living - selfies will only make this worse. These selfies are not Christ-centred in any way. We are called to live a morally pure life in every way. Posting seductive pictures is not promoting purity and holiness and we need young Christian women to understand the danger they are placing themselves in.
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)
Whilst there is nothing wrong with Christians taking selfies, we need to think before we take and post:
1. why am I doing this, for what purpose, and
2. is this Christ-centred
Remember that Jesus called us to die to ourselves, perhaps its time we die to our selfie too and take fewer. And remember what happened to Narcissus.
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”