Selfies have been around ever since we first invented the camera, and their tradition goes all the way back to the Victorian era. This is particularly true of the mirror selfie, which has been with us for centuries at this point. Of course, thanks to the fact that every phone has a camera in it these days, selfies are no longer restricted to those with money. In fact, taking selfies is pretty common for the younger generation, who grew up with the technology to do it.
Take a moment to think about what happens when a group of teens take a selfie together, though. They cram together, whether it’s in the back row of study hall or in front of the McKinley Memorial on a school trip, hold up their phones, and snap three or four shots so they’ve got options to choose from when it comes time to post and share the details of their day with their social media circle. The photo might not be the only thing that’s getting instantly transmitted, though. Because getting close to each other to all squeeze into the frame means Columbus teens are sharing more than screen time… a lot of the time, they’re sharing head lice, too.
Head lice are one of those things we try not to think about, but they’re more common than most of us realize. It’s just that with modern medicine and hygiene products, we have been able to control them with a fair amount of success. Especially since head lice can’t jump or fly, which means that if someone has them the only way they can spread is by literally pressing their head against someone else long enough for the lice to crawl across the gap.
Which is, of course, why friends getting intimate for a selfie can be a problem if one of them has head lice looking to spread to a new host.
Teens, in particular, are experiencing this problem in a way that hasn’t been true in the past. Because most of the normal risk factors for the spread of head lice, like sharing hats or other headgear, haven’t put that particular age group at risk. However, thanks to the spread of technology, we’re now spreading something else, too.
What Do We Do About It?
The obvious suggestion is to stop taking group selfies together, but you try telling Ohio teens that. Chances are they’d start taking even more selfies with their friends just to be contradictory.
Also, it wouldn’t solve the problem, which is that there is head lice to spread in the first place.
So, instead of chastising teens for expressing themselves by making memories with their friends, what we need to do is attack the root issue. That means we need to make sure young people of all ages are regularly checked for head lice, and that they know what the symptoms are they should be looking for. Additionally, we need to make treatments available so that anyone who finds they have head lice can take care of the issue quickly, before they spread it to friends, family, or anyone else.
We’re getting there… slowly. The key is to make sure everyone knows about the issue, what signs to look for, and when it’s best to wait to take a selfie. You should share most things with your friends, but this is one of those rare times when it really is best to abstain.
For more information on the spread of head lice among teens, and what you can do to make sure it’s prevented, simply contact us today!