9 selfies per week

teenagers-selfieShe holds her phone up at a high angle and strikes a sexy pose.


She inspects the picture. “Nope. Too much arm fat.” She tries again.

After four or five tries she captures the image she wants. Now to apply filters…

Funny… five years ago no one even knew what a selfie was. Now, Millennials average 9 selfies per week, spending an average of seven minutes perfecting each one before posting. That’s adds up to about 54 hours per year of selfies (IBTimes).

What were young people doing with those 54 hours five years ago?

If you have teenagers or are in regular contact with them, those numbers probably don’t surprise you. In fact, they might seem low. I guess that really depends on semantics, because if your kids have Snapchat, there’s a good chance they send another 10 to 20 “selfies” a day simply messaging their friend with a scowl and the words, “Traffic sucks!” or a blissful grinn and typing, “Loving this playlist!” I know this because my college-aged daughters and I communicate this way all the time. A facial expression is worth 1,000 words… right?

But what about the poses young people are posting for all to see?

The question many are asking is, what kind of effect does all this primping, posing and perfecting have on our kids?

Are they posting pics like this seeking approval from others? Some would say yes (see my last post on the subject).

Are selfies purely narcissistic, such as a “wealthie”?

Are any of these frequent cries to “look at me” or “check me out” actually surprising in a culture where the number one music video is a song titled “Watch Me”… a song with the chorus:

Ooh watch me, watch me
Ooh watch me, watch me
Ooh watch me, watch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Ooh watch me, watch me
Ooh watch me, watch me
Ooh watch me, watch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh


So what are some positive strides parents and caring adults can make to dialogue with young people about this, especially if we are worried our kids are “obsessing” with selfies and social media?

Here are some helpful articles and resources:

How can I get my teen to STOP relying on social media so much? –Shaunti Feldhahn

 5 ideas to help your kids be smarter than their smartphone– Jonathan McKee

 Keeping social media safe– Jonathan McKee

 Should I Just Smash My Kids Phone? – a book by Doug Fields and Jonathan McKee

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it's real easy-go here.
This entry was posted in Parenting, Self Image, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 9 selfies per week

  1. Emily says:

    Selfies were definitely a thing over five years ago. Think MySpace. “The MySpace angle” is what we liked to call it – taking a shot of yourself from a downward angle seemed to be the most flattering, especially for those who might have a larger frame. They weren’t known my the moniker that we use today, but they were certainly a thing, at the very least, 10 years ago. Were they this popular with teens? Probably not. Social media wasn’t that huge just yet. There are two sides of the coin when it comes to “selfie culture,” and I see both equally well. The first side is the one that this article is coming from: that it’s unhealthy, narcissistic, and potentially debilitating. A teen/person who takes selfies daily – even multiple selfies daily (or even better takes multiple daily of the same outfit/makeup look/etc…and posts them all) is one I would say needs some help and needs to work on scaling back. The other side of the coin is one in which selfies are seen as self-expression and a display of confidence. “I like the way I look today, let me show others that I’m proud.” There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself and wanting to share in that feel-good feeling with others. I think this is where selfies are okay. It’s when you cross the line of too much that it becomes desperate and “look at me”.