Darth Vader loses face. Do selfies strip authority?

Darth Vader selfie debut on Instagram shows the softer side of the Dark Lord. Does the selfie strip Darth Vader of his authority? Do parents sporting selfies on social media risk the same fate?

@starwars/Instagram
Darth Vader: Star Wars broke in it's new Instagram account with a selfie of Darth Vader.

The scariest dad in the galaxy, Darth Vader, has just set a tempting example to lead our kids and us to the Dark Side of social media by posting a selfie on Instagram.

Lord Vader, the guy who struck terror into my pre-teen heart in the original film, has taken a selfie and released it on Instagram.

Cue the jokes: “Did he use a dark filter?” and “At least he doesn’t have to worry about red eye.”

The light-hearted caption posted with it is, “Just another day at the office.”

It’s screamingly funny and that’s the point. The whole social image of Darth Vader as a force to be reckoned with just suffered a bigger impact than Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star.

It’s gonna be hard to scream with fear with that image of Lord Vader in your head.

Mark my words, had Voldemort done this he’d have needed a lot more than a wand and a snake to scare folks.

This is a fun example of how parents can send the wrong message via social media and selfies in particular.

The name Vader is German for father. Darth was the mac daddy of all intimidating parental figures, until the selfie.

In an instant, gone is the uber villain who strikes terror into your heart, replaced by Darth Dude in one epic smart phone snap.

“Well that was a huge mistake,” said Quin, 10, looking at Darth Selfie. “It reveals weakness. It’s like he’s begging people to like him.”

For some parents, who have trouble relating to teens, a funny selfie might be the way to break the ice. Then again it might just get you a groan and an eye-roll.

That’s because selfies by their very nature are not very parental. They are self-absorbed which is something most parents don’t have time to be.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, the selfie screams, “Me, me, me, me, me…!”

That actually says a lot about us.

When I meet someone and they tell me to look them up on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites the first place I look is the photos posted.

I check out how many postings are selfies vs. photos of friends, family, activities and pets getting a clear, unfiltered, picture of that person.

Like the Dark Side, it’s hard to resist the urge every once in a while to take a picture of ourselves from arm’s length and soft focus away some years and pounds for a profile shot.

However, when a parent’s social media is plastered with selfies it may be time to resist that urge to shoot yourself with a smart phone a dozen times a week.

The official Star Wars Instagram account aptly proclaims, “It is useless to resist.”

For some selfie-generation parents I know, that seems to be true. I know one young couple whom I taught five years ago when they were high school seniors and are now parents of a four-year-old.

Both mom and dad’s Facebook pages show drunken, sexy, selfies with toys and kid things piled on a chair in the background and lots of alcohol on the coffee table in the foreground.

Those are some very dark and dangerous selfies that could become very popular with child protective services and police.

Maybe it is hard to resist the selfie urge, but as parents we need to think about pictures we post of ourselves.

Also we don’t want to become the parent who spends more time pointing the camera at themselves than their kids because that sends the message that how we look today is more valuable than how we behaved.

However, we can use the Force of photos via social media to set a good example for our kids by helping them snap unselfies – photos of ourselves and our families helping each other, taking out the trash, feeding a pet, doing homework.

Perhaps we need to thank Darth Vader for the selfie that reminds parents that on social media we can make ourselves look bad trying to improve our social image.

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