I've always thought babies and toddlers were the neediest divas ever—feed me, change me, dress me, push me around in a ridiculously overpriced decorative cart. As it turns out, they're also narcissistic camera hogs!
The Associated Press, possibly bored from looking at all those dull pictures of old politicians at actual news events, looked into the phenomenon and tracked down a bunch of parents who have all noticed their children are mini Norma Desmonds, always ready for their close-up.
We seasoned and rugged Internetters know this isn't anything new. Babies have been stealing our cameras and lavishing photogenic worship upon themselves for ages. The Wire breaks down why it's no surprise to see children so young jumping on the selfie bandwagon:
Children are actually very adept at using smart technology. According to a recent study by Common Sense Media, 38 percent of children under two have used a mobile device, up 28 percent from 2011. Recently, parents won a class action lawsuit against Apple because it was too easy for their kids to purchase game add-ons while using their mobile phones. So it makes sense that toddlers, already in the "mirror stage" of their development when self-interest is at its highest, would be really, really into selfies.
Not only that, but parents are taking a shitload of pictures of their kids, too. Well isn't that adorable! Except OH NO here come the fretful parents who are all BUT WHAT IF ALL THESE BAYBEH PICTURES WILL DESTROY EVERYTHING ABOUT HIS OR HER FUTURE:
While the barrage of images may keep distant grandparents happy, it's not yet clear how such a steady diet of self-affirming navel-gazing will affect members of the first truly "smartphone generation." Tot-centric snapshots can help build a healthy self-image and boost childhood memories when handled correctly, but shooting too many photos or videos and playing them back instantly for a demanding toddler could backfire, said Deborah Best, a professor of cognitive developmental psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The instant gratification that smartphones provide today's toddlers is "going to be hard to overcome," she said. "They like things immediately, and they like it short and quick. It's going to have an impact on kids' ability to wait for gratification. I can't see that it won't."
Because, as they say, that's when shit gets real. Behold this example of a child gone totally out of control with their addiction to self photography.
Julie Young, a Boston-based behavioral analyst, has seen that firsthand. She was recently helping her 3-year-old son record a short birthday video for his cousin on her iPhone when he stopped mid-sentence, lunged for her phone and shouted, "Mom, can I see it?"
"It's caught on the end of the video. He couldn't even wait to get the last sentence out," said Young, who has two sons. "The second the phone comes out, they stop, they look and they attack."
Like a teenager hooked on the latest drug craze the media totally made up for ratings. Dear God. Have mercy on us all.
Much like an aging pop star who has had too much plastic surgery, it's quite natural for babies and toddlers to be obsessed with their own image. And why shouldn't they be? They're beautiful and lets face it, it's only downhill from there. Pretty soon you're hitting your pre-K years and let's just say mom and dad aren't as quick with the "doesn't Jacobi look adorable today!" comments. You start to notice Grandma and Grandpa don't bring you as many pieces of inedible candy as they used to. Father Time is a rat bastard sonofabitch, man.
Even with all the effortlessness with which our young infant descendents take to selfies, some parents still worry that their kids might be missing something:
Jason Michael, a 32-year-old father of two in Denver, has taken so many photos of his 11-month-old son and 4-year-old stepdaughter (about 4,000) that his iPhone's memory has filled up three times. His stepdaughter takes plenty of selfies and loves to film herself singing favorite songs, then watches the videos again and again. Michael worries that all that visual noise may keep them from treasuring that one special image that can evoke memories decades later. For him, it's a photo of himself as an 8-month-old baby lying on a pink blanket decorated with a rabbit eating a carrot. He remembers the photo so vividly that he asked his mother for the blanket when his son was born.
"I know everything about that photo. But there are 20,000 photos of my kids, so will it have that same emotional impact for them?" Michael told the AP.
Then all the parents interviewed for the article went back to canning their own organic homemade baby food and blogging about how anyone who doesn't do this for their child should die in a fire. Because those people are just the worst.
Image via Shutterstock