Are selfies altering our self-perception?

Are selfies altering our self-perception?
Are selfies altering our self-perception?

There's no denying the power of the selfie. Ellen DeGeneres' star-studded selfie nearly broke Twitter with almost 3.5 million retweets, but the younger generation has been taking and posting this type of picture since photo-sharing options were first made popular on social media.

While some critics believe selfies have no influence on the world, one organization recently found that this type of photography was having a substantial impact on the nation's youth. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a rising number of people are undergoing plastic surgery because of the way they look on social media.

Selfies may cause people to seek surgery
According to the survey, one in three patients who had facial procedures were influenced by the way they were portrayed in pictures on photo-sharing networking sites, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Specifically, the organization reported a 10 percent increase in rhinoplasties and 7 percent rise in the number of hair transplants in 2013. In an AAFPRS press release, one surgeon explained that with the increase in sites and applications that glorify this type of picture, there comes an inherent rise in the number of critiques people give to themselves.

"Social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and the iPhone app, which are solely image based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before," the surgeon said. "These images are often the first impressions young people put out there to prospective friends, romantic interests and employers and our patients want to put their best face forward."

The Chicago Tribune reported that this rising trend may be perpetuated by selfie culture. When individuals who have these social media accounts have any news to report - whether they've visited a new location or gotten a new hair cut - they are expected to post a picture of themselves accompanying the text. 

Trend has greatly influenced the younger generation
The study indicated that the younger population has been affected most by this rising trend. These sites generally receive the most traffic from students in college, middle or high school, demographics that are likely to be greatly influenced by the way their images are perceived.  Surgeons reported a 58 percent increase in the number of patients under the age of 30 who sought procedures in 2013, according to press release. Additionally, the release indicated that the most popular operations among this age group were rhinoplasties, skin rejuvenation and acne reduction.