Obsessive selfie-taking could point to underlying mental health issues

selfitis is now a real mental disorder girl taking selfie 123rf 31946094 ml
Selfitis was a term originally coined in a fake news story but that didn’t stop psychologists from actually researching the possibility. A group from Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management recently researched “selfitis” as possible behavior that could point to other underlying mental health issues, such as a lack of self-confidence, publishing a research report on its findings in the International Journal of Mental Health Addiction. While the study is the first real look at the potential for selfitis, researchers say more needs to be done to determine if obsessive selfies is actually bad for your health or an official medical condition.

According to the researchers, individuals in the study used selfies to try to boost their confidence or their mood, along with other motivations like conforming and social competition. The research suggests that taking selfies can be an addictive behavior that also points to more underlying mental health issues, like low self-confidence.

To see if the hoax news story was actually based on an idea that could prove true, the researchers studied 200 individuals from the country with the highest rate of death by selfie, India. In that group, obsessive selfie-snapping correlated with six other behaviors, including looking for attention and the less-disastrous, looking to make a memory.

For study participants, 34 percent had borderline selfitis, 40.5 percent acute and 25.5 percent chronic based on a new scale developed for the study. The obsessive selfie-taking was more likely to hit males at 57.5 percent compared to 42.5 for females. Less surprisingly, the 16-to-20-year-old age group, the youngest in the study, was also the most susceptible. Nine percent took more than eight selfies a day while about 25 percent shared at least three images on social media every day.

The research group also developed a set of questions that help individuals determine whether their level of selfie-taking is abnormal, included at the end of the research report.

The researchers suggest that additional research could explore selfitis across different ages and geographic regions for a more representative sample. Selfitis isn’t classified as an official mental disorder, but the research is the first to explore the possibility.

The researchers also noted that selfitis isn’t the only hoax that ended up inspiring academic research — internet addiction followed a similar path.

Updated to correct an error regarding selfitis being classified as an official medical condition.

Cars

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Emerging Tech

This very talented robotic leg learned to walk all by itself

Researchers at the University of Southern California have developed a robotic limb capable of walking without preprogrammed knowledge of the task. It’s an impressive feat that could help future robots navigate the world independently.
Wearables

You will never need to charge a smartwatch again, if new EU project succeeds

A new EU research project has launched into finding a new way of powering wearable devices, with the intention of using an energy harvesting system to ensure we never have to charge one up ever again.
Photography

Amid confusion, the Red Hydrogen team promises a pro in-device camera

Learning from the Red Hydrogen One, the company is gearing up for a pro-level device. In a forum post, Red's founder shares how the team is designing a Red Hydrogen with a pro-level in-device camera.
Photography

Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 is sharp enough to handle futuristic 90-megapixel cameras

Lens launches come with a lot of hype and marketing speak but a recent test confirmed some of the initial claims around the Sony FE 135 f/1.8. A rental company says that the Sony 135mm is the sharpest lens that it has ever tested.
Photography

Forget folding phones, the Insta360 EVO camera folds in half to shoot 360 video

The Insta360 EVO is a...flip camera? Unfolded, the Insta360 Evo shoots 3D in 180 degrees, folded, the new camera shoots in 360 degrees. The EVO launches with what are essentially a pair of 3D glasses for your phone, not your face, the…
Photography

Obsbot Tail camera uses A.I. to follow the action (or a pet) for you

Want to capture more epic action selfies, or see what your pet is doing while you're gone? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Photography

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 35 mimics tilt-shift blur for less cash

Want to create a tilt-shift image on a budget? The new Lensbaby Composer II with Edge 35 mimics the look of a tilt-shift lens for under $500. The new Edge 35 optic is part of the Composer Pro II optics system.
Photography

Loupedeck Plus can now edit video, audio with Final Cut Pro

The list of Loupedeck Plus-compatible software is growing. The photo-editing console now works with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition for video and audio editing. The controls can be configured to be used on either platform.
Photography

Photography News: Taking a smartphone photo probably saved this guy’s life

A man was snapping a photo in Australia when the smartphone stopped an arrow shot at his face. In this week's photography news, see Canon's plans for a stabilized mirrorless, Hasselblad's newest accessories, Samyang's latest lens, and more.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!