Banning "selfies" in Museums

Selfies are everywhere – throughout magazines, the news and all over social media. Every day hundreds of thousands of selfies are taken. Even children as young as 6 are taking pictures of themselves. Selfies are great for memories of people, places or simply good times, but are we obsessed? Have our lives become too engrossed in taking the perfect picture of ourselves? In this article we will explore the secret world of the selfie.

Banning selfies in museums

The National Gallery London has recently banned the selfie stick – a long stick on which you attach a camera or phone in order to take a better selfie. The sale of the selfie stick has soared over the past year – with the selfie stick becoming the ‘must have holiday accessory’. The National Gallery is not the first gallery to ban selfie sticks. They follow the Smithsonian museum in Washington, Rome’s Colosseum, Vienna’s Albertina and France’s Versailles. These galleries and museums have banned them both for the exhibits’ and tourists’ safety. Rome’s Colosseum closed after two American tourists were arrested after carving their names into the Colosseum’s wall and then taking a photo using their selfie stick. As told to News24 Christiano Brughitta from the Colosseum said, “The twirling around of hundreds of sticks can become unwittingly dangerous”.

However, some galleries have not yet banned the popular accessories and currently see no reason why they should change their rules. As said to the BBC a spokesman for the Natural History Museum said that they “do not currently see a need to alter our stance on this issue”. Another spokesman from the Tate said that “provided that users respect fellow visitors and adhere to Tate’s photography policy” they do not feel the need to ban selfie sticks.

This news has come as a disappointment for many fans of the selfie stick as they are left having to resort to traditional methods in order to take that perfect photo. 

Selfie safety online

When you take a selfie and post it on social media, you do not know who is looking at it. It could be just your friends, but the chances are your selfies are attracting a wider audience. Here are a few tips on staying safe online when posting the perfect selfie, helfie, belfie, welfie, drelfie, shelfie or bookshelfie. 

You may not know it, but if you take a photo of you outside Big Ben and then post it, everyone is going to know that is where you are. Even if you post a picture of yourself outside the local corner shop, people will still be able to find out where you are. Online stalkers may take care in searching for little ‘clues’ about your location – whether it is a sign in a different language, or the Hollister logo. 

If you tend to take selfies at certain times (before or after school) people would easily be able to find you due to the location and time of the selfies. If you take selfies when you are in your school uniform, it is incredibly easy to track you down. Once people have found out what school you go to, they can easily find you after or before school. 

Unfortunately, these rules mean that your perfect selfie has gone from amazing to pretty boring. I am talking about a selfie in non-branded clothes, with a white background, posted at a strange time and without your friends. But this doesn’t mean that you have to follow all of them - you can ‘pick and mix’ the ones you think are necessary. 

For more helpful advice visit:

How to take the best selfie

We all know that taking the perfect selfie is a skill. You have to consider so much – lighting, hair, time and place – not forgetting having to take about 300 in the same position just to see which one is best. We decided that we would find a few tips from the ultimate selfie queen – Kim Kardashian.

As told for the T-Mobile advert she says:

“For me I know my perfect angle, it’s my chin down and I just pose away and take about 300 photos until I get the perfect selfie.”

 “If you don’t have a mirror in front of you to figure out your pose and your angle, make sure that the lighting is amazing because you want to blow out everything that you don’t want to see and highlight all the good things that you do.”

Our top tips for taking the best selfie are:

  1. Find the angle that suits you. That could be looking up at the camera, looking down or from the side. 
  2. Pick a background! Get into a place that has natural light. Natural light will make you look more radiant! If you don’t have that much natural light either go outside or take a picture by a lamp or overhead light.
  3. Work out what you want to be doing in the photo: pouting, smiling or frowning. 
  4. Think about where you want your hands/ your hand: on your face or by your side.
  5. Use a selfie stick for more background behind you but if you don’t have one just use your phone.
  6. Take a few photos different photos of yourself in the same position and decide on the best one.
  7. If you don’t think that position/ background suits you then take it again!
  8. Well done – you have successfully taken an amazing selfie!  

Solar Eclipse Selfie

On the 19th of March from 09:23 to 09:43, England will experience a partial solar eclipse. The moon will pass in front of the sun and cover up to 98% of its visible shape. The last major eclipse occurred in 1999.
Eye experts are worried that by attempting to take a selfie during the eclipse, many people may look behind their shoulder to check that the eclipse is in the right position. By doing this, people may accidentally catch a glimpse of the sun and damage their eyes. The condition that occurs when someone looks at the sun and damages their eyes is called solar retinopathy. This is when bright light from the sun floods the retina on the back of the eyeball. The retina contains the light-sensing cells that allow us to see. When they're overwhelmed by sunlight, they release masses of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This process is mostly painless so people may not realize the damage they’re doing to their eyes.

 Symptoms of this condition may include sore and watery eyes, discomfort while looking at light, difficulty distinguishing shapes, seeing distorted objects or seeing a blind spot in your vision. If the damage created is mild then once the swelling has disappeared, one’s eyesight will probably return to normal. However, if the damage is more severe, one’s eyes may be damaged permanently. 
To prevent any of this from happening, don’t take selfies with the eclipse. If you would wish to view the eclipse there are methods that will not damage the eyes in any way. Such as through protective glasses as shown in the picture to the left.

The word "selfie"

‘Selfie’ was added to in August 2013 and it is currently being considered for adding to the Oxford dictionary. The term ‘selfie’ can be traced back to 2002 when it was first used in an Australian online forum. The tag ‘selfie’ began to be more popular on Myspace in 2004, but the word first began to be used widely in 2013. Now, the word is used in everyday language.

In a study of 11-14 year olds, over half of them used the word in their everyday language, and over two thirds thought that the word should be added to the dictionary. However, when people over the age of 30 were asked, they said that they never used the term selfie in their everyday language. 

But, contrary to your original thoughts, there is not just one type of selfie. Different words for different types of selfies are becoming ever more popular.  These include the Helfie – a selfie of your hair, Welfie – a selfie of yourself working out, Drelfie – a selfie of you when you are drunk, a Shelfie – a selfie of you with a shelf behind you and the Bookshelfie – a selfie with a bookshelf. 

The Implications of selfies

As popular as selfies are, there are in fact many implications and troubles caused by them. Social media has always been popular, but recently, it has gone through the roof. Social media has almost become a site for selfies within the past year or so. Facebook is currently the most selfie-populated social media worldwide. 

However, scientific research shows that selfies are causing people to be more self-conscious of their appearance, especially teenage girls. There are also increasing cases of eating disorders, which many people believe to be the result of selfies and the stress of social pressure. Young people, in particular, compare themselves against others, which can cause some people to be upset with their appearance.

Selfies may make people laugh and are often used for light-hearted fun, but they are powerful and can cause some to feel bad about themselves.

Selfie Survey

After gathering the results from the survey, we have found that overall, Year 8 students are selfie-mad! The results show that out of the year 8 students that took the survey, approximately half of them took around 1 to 2 selfies each week, while the other half took over 10 selfies each week. Also, students in Year 11 and above tend to post a lot of selfies, whereas Year 7, 9 and 10 generally post between 1 and 5 selfies a week.


Despite the selfie craze, 0.5 % of the year 8s who took the survey owned a selfie stick! In fact, the selfie stick hasn’t really taken off in the English schools yet – most people using selfie sticks in England are tourists, taking selfies next to famous landmarks.

As popular as selfies are, not many people post them on social media – only 38.5% posted selfies. This could be because of the dangers of online predators.

Apart from this, the results to this question have no correlation – it seems that it depends on the personality of the person depending on how many selfies they post!
What do teachers think of selfies in school? 

Selfies arise a lot of different opinions from different people. We know that most students love to take selfies but what do teachers really think? We interviewed a teacher from our school to find out more. 

How often do you see selfies being taken by students at school?
“I am aware of students, especially in the corridors and classrooms at break times, doing this.”

Does this annoy you?
“It doesn't annoy me, but it does really puzzle me. As someone who is notoriously camera shy, I find it incomprehensible that students should want to take so many photos of themselves - often grimacing, gurning, or some other form of face-pulling!”

Should selfies be banned in school?
“I'm not sure they need to be banned during students' free time, although I think they should be restricted to outside and social rooms, not in the library for example.”

What are your opinions of taking selfies with the school uniform and posting on social media and by doing this do you think that students are at risk?
“I am uneasy about selfies in school uniform being posted on social media. I think social media is so accessible and so swift that students run the risk of writing and sending something in a moment which, if they had had time to reflect, they would not have sent.”