Selfies have become a part of our everyday lives. But whether they're pictures of ourselves or we're looking at photos of others, it turns out that these ubiquitous shots aren't as innocent as they appear.
According to a new study out of Penn State University, selfies can seriously affect your self-esteem-- and we don't mean just for the people taking them. Looking at selfies is linked to decreased self-esteem and overall life satisfaction, even more so than taking them. "We tend to compare ourselves to others when we see these photos—often carefully curated photos," the study explains. This, then, leads to feelings of "loneliness, exclusion, or disappointment with our own lives."
"People usually post selfies when they're happy or having fun," said co-author and mass communications graduate student Ruoxu Wang, in a press release. "This makes it easy for someone else to look at these pictures and think … his or her life is not as great as theirs."
"Groupies," or photos of a group of people as opposed to one person, have the opposite effect of a selfie, and actually can boost your self-esteem by promoting feelings of inclusiveness and camaraderie.
While selfies don't seem to be going out of style anytime soon, decreasing the time you spend looking at them could provide a major boost to your mental health.