Tag Archives: Teenagers

Me. Myself. I

28 Oct

An image or a photo capture a moment of time and space that when looked upon in the future remind of us a particular memory of days or years gone by. But, what if those images captured are so much more? What if these images are reflections of the people we wish we were or want to be or once were?

Take a look at the photos on your phone what kind of photos do you have? Do you have a photo of a pet, an old friend, some flowers or scenery, images of a concert you went to? What do these all mean to you? Did you upload them onto Facebook or Instagram? Are they even important?

Our images are reflections of the perceived important things in our lives. But, are they any quality? Palmer (2012) notes that camera phones are associated with more mundane yet intimate photography this is due to their mobile nature and readily available format. We take pictures of anything from the meal we prepared to potential outfits in a store instead of discussing them. In essence, it is far easier to take a picture and send it then try to explain it to someone; this has all become part of a new form of communication or “visual chit-chat”.

Selfie Culture

The Oxford dictionary defines selfies as:

“A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smart phone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”

So let us delve a little deeper into this camera phone phenomenon and attempt to understand the ‘selfie’ culture. I will be honest with you I am not much of a selfie taker; I am actually really bad at it and find it all a little ridiculous. I was once asked by a friend to take a selfie of the outfit I was going to wear – she helped me pick out jewellery to go with it – and I ended up with a pseudo-awkward picture that wasn’t straight and did me no favours – it has since been deleted.

This made me think a little about the over-indulged and narcissistic culture we all live in. I have lost count of the amount of celebrities popping up on my Instagram and Facebook  with pouty lips and in various states of undress on my news feed and re-gramed by friends on Instagram. I don’t get it.

Rihanna does. She has posted countless selfies to her Instagram including this one:

rihanna_bubble_bath_greece_photo

Palmer (2012) notes the appeal of the iPhones – but this can also include the popular Android phones – camera is the aesthetics and ease of use. The camera creates the idea that the world is readily available and accessible. Whilst accessible this culture has led to a vast array of problems stemming from the abuse of this technology by ‘young people’ – teenagers.

Selfie’s and Sexting

The image of a near naked celebrity and the subsequent proliferation of that image create the illusion that it is okay to post near nude images of one self –perhaps not to everyone but to teens that idolise these celebrities.

Palmer (2012) states the two main purposes for photo apps is to make images more aesthetically or artistically pleasing and to facilitate the distribution of these images. If we look at the example of Snapchat whereby users can take an image or video of themselves and send it, once opened it is then deleted and cannot be ‘retrieved’.

What is most disturbing by the Snapchat trend is the spread of sexual images, the iPhone app although not intended for that purpose seemed like a good idea as the image self-destructs anywhere up to 10 seconds after the picture is opened. The one fatal flaw is that iPhones can take screenshots; even though the sender may get a notification of that happening they are powerless to stop that person then re-distributing the photo.

tech-snapchat-logoSnapchat Logo

Is this all a result of celebrity culture whereby female celebrities are increasingly wearing less and less or is it a result of the immature teenage mind whereby individuals simply do not understand the ramifications of their actions?

We have all heard of the Steubenville case but it isn’t isolated, the images distributed of the drunken semi-nude girl at a party then vilified or worse the girl committing suicide as a result of the subsequent humiliation faced by the girl. But, at what point do we look at the education of young people in understanding the consequences of such actions.

Where do we go from here? Well perhaps it is time we look at the way we use social media in our everyday lives and educate teens more aptly about the dangers of social media.

How we do that is anyone’s guess.

Resources

Palmer, D (2012), ‘iPhone photography: meditating visions of social space’ in L. Hjorth, J.Burgess and I. Richardson (eds) Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, mobile communication and the iPhone, New York and London: Routledge pp85-97