Beware the danger of children’s selfie obsession

Selfies are the greatest threat to childhood, says Dame Jacqueline Wilson

The children’s author Jacqueline Wilson has lamented the “awful kind of self-consciousness” among young girls who incessantly take photographs of themselves.

Speaking at the London Book Fair at Kensington Olympia, the 72-year-old told of how girls seem to have a “special selfie face” which they spend hours perfecting in front of a mirror.

Asked what she believes poses the greatest danger for young children, she said: “There are so many pressures – and I don’t want to sound like this terrible technophobe – but I do think there is this awful way of looking at pictures. I find it really interesting when doing thousands of selfies with young girls and they all have this special selfie face that they’ve practised in the mirror for ages and ages.”

The former children’s laureate added however, that while girls today face challenges with social media, there have been several positive developments that have changed women’s position in society.

“I do think it is wonderful now that girls are expected to achieve and have brilliant careers,” she said.

“When I was a girl if you were considered bright there were two occupations – do you want to be a nurse or do you want to be a teacher? Nothing else was ever considered so we have moved forward enormously.”

Dame Jacqueline, who has written more than 100 books over a 35-year career, has previously spoken about the disruption of modern technology.

Last year she complained that electronic life has “wiped out books”, saying she finds it “sad” to see adults are not reading as much as they used to.

“On the train 10 years ago, people were reading books... Now I’ll be the only person with a book on my lap and everyone else is glued to their smartphones or checking e-mails. Electronic life has wiped out books.” – The Daily Telegraph