Selfie Culture: Are We Too Addicted To Our Phones?

Person taking selfie outsideSource: Pixabay

Whether its posting on social media platforms or browsing through search engines, every day there are billions of people around the world who are active online. Statistics from the Data Reportal earlier this year found that there are over 3.725 billion social media users active around the world.

With the growth of popular social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram, many more people are now sharing their lives online and logging in daily to check up on news feeds, new content, and what their friends are up to. According to the Office of National Statistics in the UK, around 87% of all adults used the internet daily, or almost every day, this year. But what we go online for varies from person to person.

Online content activities:

% of internet users who consume each kind of content via the internet each month (survey)

  • 91% watch online videos
  • 51% watch vlogs
  • 69% use music streaming services
  • 47% listen to online radio stations
  • 40% listen to podcasts

(Data Reportal, October 2019)

The Rise Of The Selfie

Person taking selfieSource: Pixabay

‘A selfie (/ˈsɛlfi/) is a self-portrait digital photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or smartphone, which may be held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social media, via social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.’

Back in the day, personal photographs used to be stored in picture albums or on our computers. Now, with the rise of social media channels such as Instagram, many of us are choosing to share our personal photos or ‘selfies’ online instead. Selfies can not only help us capture our outfit of the day, but can also help us capture memorable moments that we don’t want to forget. Many of us might take selfies of moments and locations that we want to remember in the future such as graduations, births, and weddings.

Why Do We Take Selfies?

  • To get likes/increase our social status online
  • To make us more popular
  • To make us feel better
  • To boost our self-confidence
  • To copy others
  • To create memories

(USA Today, 2019)

Although many different age groups access social media channels and post selfies, a lot of us are still aware of the negative associations. In the UK Ofcom report, ‘Children and parents: Media use and attitudes’ released in early 2019, 78% of 12-15 year olds felt that there was a pressure to look popular online.

These pressures were felt the most among females. The research found that young girls were starting to choose more ‘glamourised’ and ‘aesthetic’ filters on Snapchat rather than animal filters that had been previously used in past survey results. Although some respondents felt the pressures of social media, many were still aware that posts on social media do not always reflect real life.

How Long Do We Spend Online Each Day?

Man taking nature selfieSource: Pixabay

Whether you are playing online casino games or you are updating your Facebook status, how long do you spend online each day? 10 minutes? A couple of hours?

Earlier this year, Digital Information World covered a report by the Global Web Index about just how much time the global population spends using social media. People aged 16-24 spent the most time per day online and spent approximately 03:01hrs on social networks on a typical day.

Engaging and connecting with social networks/services during a typical day:

  • 16-24s spend 3 hours 1 min per day on social media (3:01)
  • 25-34 (2:37)
  • 35-44 (2:04)
  • 45-54  (1:39)
  • 55-64 (1:13)

(Global Web Index, 2019)

There is also further online research that shows how much time children are spending online too. Children aged 12-15 are even spending over 20 ½ hours a week online, mainly for watching funny videos or music videos. Research also found that there are even children aged 3-4 that are spending multiple hours a week online.

Children who go online

  • 3-4s: 52% go online, for around 9 hours a week
  • 5-7s: 82% go online, for around 9 ½ hours a week
  • 8-11s: 93% go online, for around 13 ½ hours a week
  • 12-15s: 99% go online for 20 ½ hours a week.

(Ofcom, 2019)

Are We Becoming A Society That Simply Can’t Switch Off?

SelfiestickSource: Pixabay

Using our mobile data or accessing free Wi-Fi means that we can now access the internet while we are out and about, meaning we can easily spend much more time than we should with our eyes on our phone screens. Phone usage can also start to impact our sleep patterns, especially when we leave our phones on charge by our bedside.

  • 12-15s
  • 83% have their own smartphone
  • 69% have a social media profile
  • 71% who own a mobile are allowed to take it to bed with them

(Ofcom, 2019)

As many of us spend hours per day on our phones, it can sometimes start to negatively impact our health. Instead of leaving our devices alone for a while or simply switching them off, many of us carry on using our phones throughout the entire day.

Do you think people have become addicted to their phones?

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