Junaid Ahmed has 50,000 followers on Instagram and admits he is addicted to selfies.
The 22-year-old takes around 200 snaps of himself a day.
He carefully times when he will post a photo on social media so it gets the most likes, and if it gets fewer than 600 he will delete it.
“When I post a picture, in the first minute or two I’ll probably get 100 likes and I love it, my phone goes crazy, it’s just amazing.”
A recent study suggested an obsession with selfies is a genuine condition, called Selfitis.
An urge to take selfies and upload them on social media more than six times a day is chronic selfitis, according to researchers at the Nottingham Trent University and the Thiagarajar School of Management in India.
And Junaid admits his selfie urges can cause friction with loved ones.
“They’re like ‘can’t you go to a meal and not take a picture?’
“And I’m like ‘no, I didn’t get ready for three hours for no reason’. Why would I not take a picture?”
Junaid says negative comments under his pictures no longer affect him like they used to – but admits to having work done on his face because of the pressure he feels to look a certain way.
“Years ago I never used to look like this. I used to be quite natural. But I just think with the obsession with social media… I want to upgrade myself now.
“I’ve had my teeth veneered, chin filler, cheek filler, jawline filler, lip filler, botox under the eyes and on the head, tattooed eyebrows and fat freezing.”
Junaid, from Essex, says he realises how negative social media can be, but that he doesn’t take it too seriously.
“What you see on social media is not the truth,” he says.
“Social media is fun using it in the right way. But don’t let it affect your life purely because you aspire to be what someone else on Instagram is being… it’s just not worth it.”
‘I wanted to fit in’
Danny Bowman, 23, was obsessed with uploading selfies on social media when he was a teenager.
“I wanted to fit in and I thought the best way to do that was to be good looking,” he says.
He would take selfies and analyse them for flaws – which he says he always found – and the process became a “vicious cycle”.
“Round and round it went, spending ten hours a day in the mirror taking these photos, day in, day out.”
When he was 16 years old, Danny tried to take his own life.
He went to rehab where he was diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder and he believes social media played a big part.
Danny is now at university and also works to help young people with mental health problems.
“I remember lying on my bed and thinking ‘how am I going to get out of this?’ I felt like there was no way out.
“The pictures I post on Instagram now are not selfies, they’re pictures of me talking to people or doing speeches.
“That’s a lot more fulfilling for me than posting selfies and begging and hoping that I get a number of likes.”
The Royal Society for Public Health is calling on the government and social media platforms to introduce pop-up warnings on your phone after spending two hours online, following research into how social media effects young people.
“Seven out of ten teenagers told us they received support from social media in challenging times,” says RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer.
“But we also know that depression and anxiety are fuelled by social media.”
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