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Ethics in Social Media with special Reference to Selfies: Analytical Essay

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The use of social media is influencing everyone irrespective of age, gender and culture. This paper aims to examine how parents are becoming unethical to their children due to the excessive use of social media. It also elaborates how these neglected kids are addicted to their social media profiles and selfies. The present generation is recreating their own identity through these emerging selfie applications and hence, question arises about the basic aspect of self-ethics. The edited pictures can mislead its audience by highlighting the unreal aspects of an individual. The question of ethics arrives when a social media user wants to hide his real self with these edited self and selfies.

This study is conducted through the analysis of recent studies on selfie addiction and certain articles that have gone viral in social media.

Keywords: Ethics, identity, social media, selfie, unreal.


The 21st century is the age of social networking sites. It is a vast platform for individuals to create their own profiles with a choice of the personal contact list to interact with each other with the facilities of chatting, video calling, video/photo/selfie/status sharing. Almost all individuals especially the teenagers are preoccupied and engrossed with their phones and being insensitive to chat in worship places, workplaces and even during family get-togethers.

Aim of the Study:

The aim of the paper is to highlight the excessive use of social networking sites as a result of lack of interaction among family members.

The paper also tries to bring out the cause of Selfie Addiction especially among the teenagers.


The Researcher has taken inputs from various magazines and journals and tried to analyse the reason behind selfie addiction which in turn relates to the unethical attitude of not only the teenagers but also the parents and society.

Review of Literature:

The protest of German kids against their parents’ excessive smartphone use recently got viral in social media is the best example of unethical behaviour of parents.

“Play with me, not with your cell phones, read posters from a kids’ demonstration recently held by 7-year-old Emil Rustige in Germany’s Hamburg”( Matta, 2018, para. 1). Some of the parents are nowadays becoming unethical towards their kid due to the overuse of social networking sites. Studies found that kids are often felt neglected as they are getting less attention from parents.

“A larger-scale study, reported by The Swaddle, interviewed more than 6,000 children; aged 8 to 13, across eight countries — finding that more than half them felt their parents spent too much time on the phone. Further, one-third reported feeling neglected and unimportant when parents were preoccupied with their phones” (Matta, 2018, para. 6).

It is evident that parents are not only being unethical to their kids but also to themselves. Due to lack of care, support and face-to-face interaction with parents, these kids are also tending to be more attached to their social media profiles.

“The success of social media must be understood partly in relation to the shrinking social landscape. (Boyd, 2014, p. 21). It is clear that students need face to face interaction within family as well as society. Boyed again says, “Socializing is more homebound” (Boyd, 2014, p. 21). As parents are busy with the act of money making and the use of mobile phones, kids are not getting enough opportunities for family and social interaction. Due to these shrinking social landscapes, social networking sites are the only option for kids to stay connected.

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“Study upon study have found that the things we use devices for most (social media, games, even instant messaging) feed dopamine receptors in the brain in ways that mimic addiction. It’s difficult to put down the phone — especially if the alternative is to listen to a whining child” (Matta, 2018, para. 4).

In social networking sites, the present generation is more obsessed with selfies. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a ‘selfie’ is a “photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media”. The teenagers are totally addicted to posting selfies on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook etc.

Another interesting factor is that the majority of social media users are negating the use of basic inbuilt front camera application for other selfie applications like Youcam Perfect, Candy Camera, Sweet Selfie, B612 – Selfiegenic, Beauty Plus – Easy Photo, BestMe Selfe, etc. These applications will help the user to add effects to the selfies at the time of capture itself. This may help them to change the colour, contrast and saturation of the picture and even their skin colour as they like. For example, a person in dark complexion can adjust his selfie portrait into a fair one by negating reality.

“Selfie-taking is more than just the taking of a photograph. It can include the editing of the color and contrast, the changing of backgrounds, and the addition of other effects before uploading. These added options and the use of integrative editing have further popularized selfie-taking behavior, particularly among teenagers and young adults” (Griffiths and Balakrishnan, 2018, p. 3).


The scope of the study is to brainstorm the teenagers about the ill effects of getting addicted to selfie and the resultant psychological breakdown that might be caused in an individual.

The psychological attachment towards brighter colours forces an individual to edit selfies accordingly to highlight themselves with artificial colours. The recreation of identity through these emerging selfie applications is questioning the basic aspect of self-ethics. The edited pictures can mislead its audience by highlighting the unreal aspects of an individual. The question of ethics arrives when a social media user wants to hide their real self with these edited self and selfies.

“For (millennials), social media is a powerful tool with the ability to create an entirely new persona, void of reality. The formula is quite simple. If you post enough artsy, chic pictures of yourself that rack up plenty of likes, then real-life accomplishments will not matter because the popularity of your social media accounts will determine your status on the social hierarchy” (Tamplin, 2017, para. 9).

The creation of a new persona or identity in social media is the unethical act of impersonation. It is the act of pretending to be another individual by the negation of own personal traits through the use of fillers or editing techniques in social networking sites and selfie applications.

In 2014, The American Psychiatric Association (APA) had classed ‘selfitis’ (i.e., the obsessive taking of selfies) as a new mental disorder. According to recent reports, selfie addicts seem to be unethical in the present social scenario. The photograph of a man taking a selfie in the backdrop of an injured woman reported by BBC and other leading channels sparked discussion over the ethics of selfies. ABC news reported his activity as an ‘inhuman act’.

The aspect of ethics is beyond the editing of photographs through mobile applications. Many of the social media users are starving for a selfie to be posted on regular basis. The major aim of these posts is to get maximum likes, comments and shares in the social networking sites, thus trying to seek attention, which is often described as Attention Seeking syndrome. This is the result of the unethical act of denial of parental attention and face to face interactions in family as well as society due to the busy schedule of parents resulting in the addiction of social media among kids.

Thus Selfie obsession and recreation of identity with use of fillers or editing techniques in social networking sites and selfie applications leads to unethical act of impersonation. Selfie addicts are becoming inhuman in their social life due to the excessive urge to take selfies at any situation.


The Researcher through this paper initiates the two way communication of the parents and the children to avoid any sort of addiction to social media usage, thereby avoiding the unethical ways of using Selfies.


  1. Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated the social lives of networked teens. London: Yale university press.
  2. Griffiths, M.D., & Balakrishnan, J. (2018). The psychosocial impact of excessive selfie-taking in youth: A brief overview. Education and Health, 36(1), 3-6.
  3. Matta, A. (2018 April 4). German Kids Are Protesting Their Parents’ Smartphone. Use. The Swaddle. Retrieved from excessive-use-of-mobile-phones/
  4. Tamplin, H. (2017 April 4). Instagram Users are Massive Narcissists, Study Shows. Elite Daily. Retrieved from news/instagram-study-narcissistic-social-media-site/1848268

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Ethics in Social Media with special Reference to Selfies: Analytical Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from
“Ethics in Social Media with special Reference to Selfies: Analytical Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
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