Edgewood Blog

What is a ‘selfie’?

Posted on: December 16, 2013

With roots in internet slang, a ‘selfie, is a self-portrait typically taken with a camera phone and at a slightly tilted angle.  With this being 2013’s Word of the Year, it speaks volumes about our culture, our perceptions, and how they affect us.  Selfie’s gained popularity over the years with the simultaneous rise in popularity of smart phones and integrated web apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  People would be able to take self-portraits in front of a famous landmark or in an adventurous or humorous setting and post the picture online immediately.  This would generate much buzz about the individual; a trend is born.

It would seem that this trend would be most popular among teens and college students, but the selfie was taken to a whole new level last weekend.  Our President, Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron of Great Britain, and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt took perhaps the worlds most famous selfie to date at the memorial service of the late Nelson Mandela (search, its easy to find).  This is not about politics.  This type of behavior by high school students would (hopefully) generate a scolding if they acted in that regard at an important event.  The fact that leaders of the free world cannot put someone else’s need in front of their own during a service for arguably the most revered civil rights leader of the past 100 years is unfathomable.  But, it does lead to a more important question: If they can’t contain their levels of narcissism, why would we expect our children to?

Even though we live in a time where everyone gets a trophy, and everyone is unique and should be proud, it is extremely important that children learn humility.  Just because kids can feel great about themselves doesn’t mean that its acceptable to forget the importance of empathy.  Our kids must be comfortable and secure in their own skin without trying to artificially inflate their egos.  Rather by acting with integrity and consistency in their own values, they can gain validation and respect simply by being themselves.