A new study from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has found that there have been 259 selfie related deaths from October 2011 to November 2017 worldwide. To put this in proper perspective these are people who have died taking pictures of themselves. They were only looking at themselves, not what was going on around them.
The Washington Post has reported that “selfie deaths have become a major public health problem”, the National Post has reported the same.
The largest number of deaths has occurred in India, but Russia and the United States and Pakistan are close runners up. What worries the researchers is that the deaths were all preventable. Many people become so focused on their screen and taking the perfect shot that they become oblivious to everything else around them.
Agam Bansal, a lead researcher of the paper says that, “these many numbers just because you want a perfect selfie because you want a lot of likes, shares on Facebook, Twitter or other social media, I don't think this is worth compromising a life for such a thing”. More that 85% of the victims were young, between 10-35 years old. Many deaths involve trying to take photos with oncoming traffic, injured wild animals, wildlife, and scenery (falling off a cliff, into the ocean etc.).
Researchers worry that most people don’t consider their own safety as they are taking the selfies. They are caught up in the moment, framing the perfect shot and are completely oblivious to their pending death. Many tourist places in India are now declaring ‘no selfie zones’ following a recent surge in deaths. Museums and galleries throughout the world have banned selfie sticks for the safety of the art work.
If you are taking selfies remain aware of your surroundings. Don’t take risks trying to take a picture on the railway tracks for example with a train coming, or at the edge of a gorge or canyon, or on the ocean ledge. It could be easier to hand your phone to a fellow tourist to get the perfect shot.