Danny Bowman, a 19 year old British teenager, became so obsessed with taking the perfect selfie that he spent 10 hours a day taking up to 200 pictures of himself. As a result, he lost nearly 30 pounds, dropped out of school and did not leave the house for six months in his quest to get the perfect shot. He would take 10 pictures as soon as he woke up in the morning. One time, he was so frustrated at his attempts to take the ideal selfie that attempted suicide by overdosing. Fortunately, he was saved by his mom.
“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life,” he said.
Believed to be the United Kingdom’s first selfie addict, Bowman had therapy to treat his technology addiction as well as OCD and Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
At the hospital, they would take away his iPhone for intervals of 10 minutes, gradually increasing the time to 30 minutes and eventually an hour.
“It was excruciating to begin with but I knew I had to do it if I wanted to go on living,” he recalled.
The word “selfie” was named “Word of the Year 2013” by the Oxford English Dictionary. It is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
MP’s Take: It’s great that Bowman eventually got the help he needed and even created a Twitter account helping others in a similar situation as him. Props to him for getting past his problem. Whether we like it or not, image is extremely important to us. We are often defined as individuals by what others see in us. Selfies have become a way to depict ourselves in a way that we desire. Like it or not, the selfie generation is ingrained in our culture and it’s here to stay. As long as we have social media like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, there will always be selfies and a need to define ourselves through photos, even though that may not be who we truly are. Technology can be used to manipulate and change the way people see us, which can be exciting, yet very scary. This ego boost may be too hard to pass up and it’s almost like a drug. Photos can certainly be a great way to express our lives as both an individual and as an artist. However, in cases like this British teenager (and probably millions of young people who get selfie-obsessed), selfies can lead to isolation and a false sense of purpose. Is it self-absorption or self-expression? It really depends on the individual but let’s all hope it’s the latter.