February 23, 2024

The dangers of selfies

It’s not an original thought, but with every amazing technological advance comes an unheard-of and very dangerous drawback. Smashing the atom gave us nuclear power and the atom bomb. The automobile gave us hitherto unimaginable mobility and tens of thousands of deaths on the road. The Pill gave women control over their fertility and led to birth rates so low that some countries are in danger of disappearing.

And the mobile phone? Where do we start? This week, with selfies. They give Millennials a buzz, but according to cosmetic surgeons, they also can lead to a psychological disorder which has been dubbed “Snapchat Dysmorphia”. Young women (mostly) are so used to altering their images with apps that they demand the same service from cosmetic surgeons.

“This is an alarming trend because those filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients,” report the authors of an article in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

It would take a sharper mind than mine to define the problem, but our relationship with technology is problematic. We don’t foresee the problems and we can’t control our dependence. Since so much of contemporary bioethics revolves around the proper use of technology, this is something we always have to bear in mind.

Michael Cook
Can we control our technology?