Selfies thrill but may kill. The craze of taking selfies claimed another life on Friday as a tourist from Karachi drowned in the Swat River.
Why people feel the need to take selfies
Taking selfies has become the norm. With smartphones in their hands, you can see people taking selfies everywhere, be it at restaurants, in malls, in public places or even at home.
While some take photos to keep a record of memories, others want to take selfies all the time. This obsession with taking selfies is a genuine mental disorder called ‘Selfitis’.
In 2014, a widely shared article claimed the American Psychiatric Association has declared ‘selfitis’ a mental disorder.
Though the article turned out to be a spoof, it intrigued researchers who then looked into the phenomenon. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management in India decided to conduct a study with 400 participants. India was chosen as the sample country because more people have died in selfie-related incidents in India than anywhere else in the world.
Finally, in December 2017 the researchers declared that ‘selfitis’ does exist. It is a form of narcissistic personality disorder that involves a preoccupation with the self and how one is perceived by others. The researchers have even developed a ‘Selfitis Behaviour Scale’ to help assess how severely you are affected by the condition.
According to the study, the disorder can be categorised into three forms.
People from first level of ‘selfitis’, borderline cases, usually take selfies at least three times a day, but do not post them on social media.
In the next acute phase, people start posting these selfies on social media.
In the final chronic stage of ‘selfitis’, people feel an uncontrollable urge to take selfies all the time and post them on social media at least six times a day.
Researchers found that typical ‘selfitis’ sufferers were attention seekers, often lacking in self confidence, who were hoping to boost their social standing and feel part of a group by constantly posting images of themselves.
How to test if you’re suffering from selfitis
Researchers have developed 20 statements that can be used to determine how severely you’re suffering from ‘selfitis’.
To know how addicted you are to taking selfies, rate the following statements from one to five, where five means strongly agree and one is strongly disagree. The higher the score, the higher the probability of you suffering from ‘selfitis’.