Selfies: More Harm Than Good?

If a picture tells a thousand words, then modern humanity has surely found the ideal way of cutting out unneeded filler from communications, the ubiquitous “selfie.”

Selfies: More Harm Than Good?

As a man of letters myself, I stand by the written word as a worthwhile method of transmitting information, however it would appear that the proliferation of apps such as Whatsapp and Snapchat have led to a boom in image based communication in the smartphone age.

From pouting teenage girls in bathrooms, to world leaders such as our very own President Obama (who infamously snapped a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral), the selfie is the most popular way to show the world what you are doing, where, and with whom.

As well as igniting moral debate, our fixation with selfies sometimes has altogether more sinister consequences. If Marcy McQuillan, lice treatment expert, is to be believed, selfies are to blame for an uptick in head lice infestations in California. She has informed concerned parents that selfies should be taken with heads at least 10cm apart, however your author would prefer an outright ban.

Such a ban would not only save Californian parents from evenings spent scraping children´s scalps, but would also act in the interest of those whose self-preservation instincts are occasionally overridden by a burning need to take a selfie. As unlikely as this may seem, a spate of reports of road traffic accidents caused by ill-advised selfie taking demonstrates that there are in fact people for whom these two priorities have been reversed.

Indeed, selfies are not only to blame for accidental physical harm, but psychological problems too. British teenager Danny Bowman has been diagnosed as the world´s first selfie addict, who once attempted suicide because not one of the 200 pictures he took of himself per day were satisfactory.

Breaking selfie news

Not content with dominating discussions on the use of social media, or the narcissism of modern society, the selfie has succeeded in making itself relevant to the most pressing geopolitical issues of our time.

Four pro-Ukraine activists were arrested after scaling one of Moscow’s famous Seven Sisters skyscrapers, painting it yellow and blue, and hoisting a Ukrainian flag. Images accompanying media coverage of the incident appear to show one young man capturing the moment for posterity on a smartphone, perhaps pausing for a second to post it to his social network of choice before making his escape.

The group later parachuted to the ground where they would surely have landed with a bump, presumably from Putin´s heavy-handed police force.

The world’s richest selfie

It would appear that even those making a living in the fast-paced world of finance can find the time to snap a quick selfie.

In what has been dubbed “the world´s richest selfie”, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger appear to be having a wonderful time. Maybe that has something to do with the estimated $143,000,000,000 combined net worth of our three happy snappers.

It doesn’t seem to matter if you are a world leader, narcissistic teen or financial genius, the selfie is a fact of life, but one that your author is very happy not to be participating in.

About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at