If we were a Kardashian, we'd be worried
A Pulitzer-nominated book has revealed a link between high social media use and "cognitive and moral shallowness." Ouch. The work of tech writer Nicholas G Carr, the book, titled The Shallows, draws on recent studies to support its theory - and for prolific selfie takers, the news is alarming.
Carr asserts that frequent social media use is causing a decline in reflective thought and a failure to place value on "moral life goals." Backed by scientific research, he argues that the fast-paced nature of the internet has led to a society that craves instant gratification - and that we're starting to think in short, shallow bites (tweets, you could say?), too. This "dramatic decline in ordinary daily thought" and inability to reflect on our choices is, according to Carr, leading Gen Y-ers to eschew morality in favour of flashy hedonism. Plus, we all know hedonism attracts more likes on Instagram.
The book's hypothesis is backed by a number of recent studies, including a 2015 experiment on 149 students from the University of Windsor, which found that "recent media technologies" (ahem, Snapchat, Facebook and Insta) were resulting in "cognitive and moral shallowness if you used too frequently." A 2013 study from the University of Wisconsin that tested over 2000 students found the same thing: students who texted more often were less likely to give a positive response to statements including, "I want to live an ethicial, principled life," and exhibited "traits, goals and attitudes that were characteristic of individuals with low interest and engagement in reflective thought."
Scroll the gallery above to find some of the more serial selfie offenders - but are they morally bereft? You be the judge.