Teen girls who edit selfies more likely to be depressed - study

A new study has found teen girls who spend time editing their selfie snaps before uploading them are more likely to "feel shameful about their bodies or anxious about their appearance".

Researchers at the University of Arizona surveyed 278 girls aged 14 to 17 about their selfie habits and self-objectification.

"Our main finding was that we really shouldn't be too worried about kids who take selfies and share them; that's not where the negative effects come from," said Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, associate professor of communication and study author.

It's the time spent picking just the right one, or fixing an imperfect shot into something they're happy for the world to see. 

"It's the investment and the editing that yielded negative effects. Selfie-editing and selfie investment predicted self-objectification, and girls who self-objectify were more likely to feel shameful about their bodies or anxious about their appearance."

Dr Aubrey said girls are more likely to suffer mentally from self-objectification than boys, and that can lead to more serious issues like depression and eating disorders.

"Interventions really should focus on how we can encourage girls to develop an awareness of themselves that's not solely hinged on what they look like to other people."

Parents should keep an eye on their daughters' phones, she said, and keep an eye out for "red flags... such as selfie editing apps or camera rolls teeming with selfies".

"Selfies are a part of the media landscape, but you should post them for reasons other than trying to get people to admire your appearance or your body," said Dr Aubrey. For example, posting a selfie on vacation or with friends may be more about sharing an experience than focusing on appearance.

The research was published in Journal of Children and Media.