Tech-savvy toddlers are quickly becoming selfie-taking narcissists, according to the Associated Press, which brings us a very special and important report on the state of the toddler selfie: they're taking them and they love them — almost as much as they love themselves.
The AP spoke with a number of parents who noticed the behavior:
"There'll be 90 pictures, sideways, of the corner of her eye, her eyebrow," said Koskie, who lives in Wichita, Kan. "She's just tapping her way right into my phone."
The AP reports that toddler selfies are common, and that toddler photos are even more so. Parents are basically obsessed with documenting every waking moment of their child's early life, which has pretty much been the case since cameras and babies were invented. Toddlers taking selfies has even become something of an Internet meme. Buzzfeed has a list of (you guessed it) "22 Babies Who Discovered Selfies," which features a list of 22 discreet babies who (allegedly) photographed themselves. Tumblr has a ton of posts tagged #baby selfies, most of them self-shot photos of babies, and some shots of parents taking selfies while holding babies.
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.
But some parents are a bit worried about their selfie-obsessed babies, according to the AP, and whether they'll turn into the types of selfie-obsessed adults that get on everybody's nerves.
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."
This baby may be a little too into him-selfie. In order to combat this budding narcissism, parents can do things like make sure other people are pictured in photos with the baby. So the baby doesn't forget that other people exist, we guess.
It's not really fair to blame the self-obsession on these tablet-obsessed tots, however. For instance, we're not really sure why any parent would buy a "pillow with a smartphone pocket so toddlers can take selfies during diaper changes." If we had to guess, we'd say those parents are probably thinking, "if the baby's going to take a crotch shot, we'd prefer he do it under our roof."