Teens & Sexy Selfies – How Does it Impact Their Self Image?

I’ve tried the sexy selfie, and I just can’t seem to pull it off. I could argue it’s a generational thing, but there are plenty of smoking hot ladies in their later decades who are doing a better job that me – so maybe it’s just a me thing. We all have teens in our social media feeds who seem to have perfected the art of the sexy selfie. These adolescents exist in a world where many of them are constantly exposed to sexy images, and are generating them themselves. It’s important to wonder how the constant exposure to the sexy selfies of others and also posting their own sexual selfies impacts the development of adolescents sexual self concept.

A January 2018 paper published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking explored this concept – specifically – seeking to determine if adolescents posting their own “sexy selfies” had a smaller or greater impact on their sexual self concept than constantly being exposed to other teens sexy selfies in their social media feeds, particularly, how it impacted being the teens perceived importance of being sexually outgoing.

The authors surveyed 1,288 Dutch adolescents aged between 13-17 years three times over a 1 year period regarding their posting behaviors and online experiences, as well as the importance of being sexually outgoing as part of their “sexual self concept”.

“…we found that only adolescents’ own sexy self-presentation, but not the exposure to others’ sexy selfpresentation, predicted the importance of a sexually outgoing
self-concept for adolescents’ identity.”

The authors of the paper found that exposure to other teens sexy selfies did not have as great of an impact of the teens development of sexual self concept: what really predicted their perceived importance of being sexually outgoing was how often they posted sexy selfies themselves.

The authors speculate that posting a lot of sexy selfies continually reinforces being sexually outgoing as an important self concept to the teen – sometimes elevating it over other self concepts, such as how they perceive themselves academically.  On the flip side, it could be construed positive part of teens developing a high sexual self esteem and sense of agency.

The Importance of Adolescents’ Sexually Outgoing Self-Concept: Differential Roles of Self- and Other-Generated Sexy Self-Presentations in Social  Media, Johanna M.F. van Oosten, PhD, Dian A. de Vries, PhD, and Jochen Peter, PhD, CYBERPSYCHOLOGY, BEHAVIOR, AND SOCIAL NETWORKING Volume 21, Number 1, 2018

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