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21 Mar 2019, Edition - 1346, Thursday

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Coimbatore

Kill your obsession with selfies before it kills you

Indrani Thakurata

Bengaluru: When Priti Pise from Chunabhatti visited Marine Drive on the 27th June,, she had no clue that her selfie will cost her, her dear life. She drowned while taking that perfect selfie. Her father, Shrikrishna was quoted saying “We parents give everything to raise our children. Losing them because of such accidents is unbearable trauma. Please don’t play with your life to take a selfie.” His appeal to ban selfie came from his recent loss and many parents can identify with his statement. In fact, the recent numbers thrown by the researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Indraprastha Institute of Information Delhi is a cause for concern; India has witnessed far more selfie deaths than any other country between March 2014 and September 2016, Of the 127 reported selfie deaths, 76 happened in India. The meaning of Selfie is a ‘photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.’ ” Selfies are a result of technology. We didn’t have selfies, because we had simple phones that only allowed us to message. But with technology, the manufacturers are coining new trends to attract customers, making it a selling point,” says Counsellor Poornima Sharma.

A trend is enjoyable till the point it is harmless, but when people get obsessive, then it is a cause of worry. ” I call this an obsession when under any circumstance people want to click a selfie. This is not normal behaviour, and such behaviour needs to be counselled. We don’t have to embrace all marketing phenomenons. We need to discourage herd mentality,” Poornima adds. Calling it out as a disorder, Rachana Awatramani, Counsellor and Psychologist says, “The access of technology has increased therefore need of providing support and guidance and training is also very important. The need of an approval and self acceptance through selfie has increased, which is also giving rise to many other issues one of which is self obsession. Selfie is being discussed as a disorder.”

Elaborating on the trend and marking the evolution, Anuja Kapoor, noted Psychologist says, ” This is a self obsessed generation that needs validation from the virtual world. Selfies are a companion in the virtual world for the lonely kids of today. They want to be appreciated , and they aren’t bothered about the reality of things, they are more driven by the virtual world. They compete with each other, to get famous quickly–and daring acts become viral, so the attempt.”
Adding, ” Millennials need worthy role models who would tell them how futile these selfies are, if they are taking their lives. They need to be counselled and in their own language.”

The clever way in which Mumbai police has discouraged selfie crazies is praiseworthy. They tweeted #SafeMonsoonTips: “Don’t make ‘taking a selfie’ mean ‘taking your own life’.” Last year, it was #SafetyBeforeSelfie: “Selfies prohibited as no one wants you dead’. “We can’t stop them from phenomenons of their times. But we can explain them the dangers in a language that they understand. Humour is one of the ways,” concludes Rajshekhar Rai, a parent of a technology smitten child.

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