Today I sat on the beach while my husband surfed. I was absolutely exhausted after a week of big swell so I opted to stay on the sand. The conditions were beautiful. Blue skies, warm sun, zero wind and a bank with 1ft peeling waves. It was stunning day for the beach and there were some really stylish longboarders in the water that were entertaining to watch. The small group of board riders were sharing wave after wave and cruised along until they could step off onto the sand.
On the beach about 50 meters down from me were three young girls all around eight years old. They had set up on the beach with their backpacks, towels and smart phones in hand. The girls were taking photo after photo. Not of the beach, the surfers or the amazing scenery… They were taking selfies.
I would have been on the beach for at least two hours and the entire time I was there these three girls were in string bikinis running around to different locations for a variety of shots. They were there before I arrived and they were still there when I left taking continuous, planned selfies and reviewing each photo as if it were going on the cover of Vogue.
For the first ten minutes I thought, yeah, ok, they want a few pictures of themselves enjoying the beach. Good childhood memories for the photo album. Any minute now they’ll actually go and enjoy the beach. Maybe they’ll go swimming, or play frisbee or build a sand castle, or play tag… Anything that didn’t involve a camera. But they were only there for one thing. You’d think it was a group of professional swimwear models on a photo shoot the way they were working it for the camera. Sadly, these girls would still be in primary school.
I wondered, were these pictures for Instagram? And is their Instagram page public? What kind of followers are these young girls trying to attract with these types of provocative images at such a young age? Why are they wasting their young lives taking selfies at the beach instead of actually enjoying the beach. How much time have they spent doing this?
Sure there are professional models, athletes and bloggers that have a pretty decent following on social media. They have enough content to post at least one photo every day that can make us extremely jealous of their sun drenched, bikini clad lives. We’d love to believe that all these girls are actually out there living as they say they do. Enjoying it as much as they say they do.
Almost all of the professional surfers I see on social media do have these types of selfies with a stunning backdrop. They are likely required to update their social media with these types of photos for their sponsors, potential sponsors and fans. It’s part of their daily life and for some of them it’s a part of their job. I can guarantee you, if they’re on a photo shoot at the beach or on a tropical island reef, they’re busting to get out there and actually enjoy it. If they’re out surfing, swimming or sipping coffee and a photographer just happens to be there, awesome. They don’t have to interrupt what they’re doing to pose for photos.
I hate to think that there is an entire generation of young kids that are too concerned with imagery instead of actually living. Sure a few photos here and there to record and share your memories are fun. But for children this young that are only concerned with selfies is alarming.
Just say you make it to eighty years old. You’re sipping tea on your balcony looking over old photo albums. Would you like to remember how fun your childhood was, how much adventure you had and remember all the cool experiences you enjoyed? Or are you going to think “damn, I looked hot in a bikini when I was in primary school.”
Girl Surf Network