According to the definition of Oxford English Dictionary, a Selfie is a "photogarph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with smartphone or webcam and shared via social media." If we see psychological perspective we will get that taking of selfies is a self-oriented action that allows users to establish their individuality and self-importance; it is also related with personality traits such as narcissism. The process of taking selfie is not limited to taking selfie only. It also includes the editing of the color and contrast, the changing of backgrounds, and addition of other effects before uploading it to social media. These added options made selfie taking behaviour more popular in teenagers and adults.
On March 31, 2014, a story appeared on a website called the Adobo Chronicles that claimed that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) had classed “selfitis” as a new mental disorder. According to the author, the organization had defined selfitis as “the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy." The same article also claimed there three levels of the disorder---borderline ("taking photos of one's self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media"), acute ("taking photos of one's self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media"), and chronic ("uncontrollable urge to take photos of one's self round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day").
The story was republished on numerous news sites around the world, but soon became clear that it was hoax. But point is to be noted here why several sites republished this story. the basic reason behind this was the criteria used to delineate the three levels of selfitis (i.e., borderline, acute, and chronic) seemed believable.
Another study was conducted in India as India has the largest number of Facebook users by country. It is also a fact that India accounts for more selfie-related deaths in the world compared to any other country with a reported 76 deaths reported out of a total of 127 worldwide since 2014. All these deaths generally occur when people attempt to take selfies in dangerous contexts, such as in water, from heights, in the proximity of moving vehicles, like trains, or while posing with weapons). This study was conducted using focus group interviews with 225 young adults with an average age 21 years old to gather an initial set of criteria that underlie selfitis. Following questions were asked:
· What compels you to take selfies?
· Do you feel addicted to taking selfies?
· Do you think that someone can become addicted to taking selfies?
By asking these questions interviewers concluded that there are individuals who obsessively take selfie or selfitis does at least exist. Due to negative psychological impacts researchers did not claim this as mental disorder directly but accepted the negative consequences of the behaviour. They considered these six components as the cause of taking reapetaed selfies:
· Environmental enhancement (taking selfies in specific locations to feel good and show off to others).
· Social competition(taking selfies to get more ‘likes’ on social media).
· Attention-seeking (taking selfies to gain attention from others).
· Mood modification (taking selfies to feel better).
· Self-confidence (taking selfies to feel more positive about oneself), and
· Subjective conformity (taking selfies to fit in with one’s social group and peers).
The findings of the study showed that chronic selfitis were more likely to be motivated to take selfies due to attention seeking, environmental enhancement and social competition. the results suggest that people with chronic levels of selfitis are categorised in the list of addictive behaviours an also suggested that minority of individuals might have a "selfie addiction."