Taking All Those iPhone Photos of Your Kid May Result In Their Crippling Self-Awareness


The ol’ Photo Booth portrait phase is a well-documented phenomenon for those of us who were in college within the last five years or so. Regrettably, in some cases, Duckface Was Made. And once in awhile, in awe of the sheer novelty (Sepia! Pop art! So many effects!) we even posted them to Facebook.

But children who are growing up amidst this flurry of self-documentation may be detrimentally affected by their easy access to proud parents’ dozens of casual iPhone shots or TwitPics, argues the writer and dad David Zweig in the New York Times’ Motherlode. Zweig’s three-year-old girl requests to see photos of herself constantly, and he fears that the healthy and natural progression of her self-focusing skills will be overdeveloped, even sexualized earlier.

A psychologist who specializes in self-awareness confirms that “frequently being photographed and filmed likely induces self-awareness and thus self-evaluation, self-criticism, and may lead to other aversive consequences.” With Smartphones at the ready, parents can take hundreds of photos of their kids a day as opposed to the scattering of old-school prints that document our own childhoods. (At least most of us. Maybe not if you’re one of the Friedmans.) Kids learn earlier to “pose” and rein it in for the ubiquitous pictures, giving them an element of self-possession and self-consciousness that they shouldn’t really need to worry about yet.

“The other day, in a sweet moment, my daughter put her arm around her 1-year-old brother,” Zweig writes. “Before my wife and I could finish our ‘aww’s, my daughter said, ‘Take a picture!’ A 3-year-old shouldn’t know which of her actions are worthy of being documented; she should simply be in the moment.”

Obviously, one could certainly argue that this is only one of the symptoms, not the cause, of Zweig’s acronym KGOY (the ever-pervasive Kids Getting Older Younger lament). Personally, I blame that car commercial with LMFAO and the break-dancing hamsters. But still, maybe lay off letting your tiny progeny scroll through your various media galleries for awhile. Couldn’t hurt.

‘Why We Should Take Fewer Pictures of Our Children’ [NY Times]

Image via tratong/Shutterstock

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