Taking the perfect selfie has become a deadly new game and a major public health issue. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology (N.C.B.I.) examining selfie deaths from October 2011 to November 2017 reported at least 259 fatalities in a seven-year period. The United States was the third leading country in the world for deadly selfies, preceded only by India and Russia.
Teens and young adults are putting their lives at risk more than ever before, just to prove on social media how ‘daring’ they can be. Parents should be aware of the most fatal selfie trends and how to educate their kids on the dangers of these behaviors.
The Most Fatal Photos
Risky photographers, particularly those who love selfie images, are taking social media by storm. These are the top seven fatal selfie accidents your kids should be avoiding:
Researchers found drowning to be the leading cause of selfie death around the world, accounting for 70 of the 259 reported fatalities. In July of 2017, eight men from India on a boat picnic were taking selfies and live-streaming their ride. Sadly, the boat suddenly tipped over, and all eight men drowned in the lake.
2. Scenic Backdrops
Attempting to secure a photo with a serene landscape in the background is leading social media fans to pull some risky stunts. In May of this year, a college student from Oregon fell 100-feet to her death when she climbed over a retaining wall to get a better view at the edge of a cliff. Another woman in California fell 200-feet from a cliff in September 2018, when she slipped trying to take a selfie with the scenery in the background.
A social media phenomenon called ‘rooftopping’ is leading people to climb on top of buildings, ledges, and cliffs to get the perfect shot of their climb. In November 2017, a 26-year-old Chinese rooftopper fell off of a 62-story building while pulling a stunt for his Instagram. The social media star, famous for his skyscraper selfies, was attempting to do pull-ups from a building when he fell trying to climb back up.
4. Fire and Explosions
According to the study, at least 48 people taking selfies have died by fire. In January 2015, two soldiers from Russia were posing with a live grenade when the device unexpectedly detonated, killing both of the men instantly and leaving the phone with the proof.
A huge trend currently on social media is taking photos in front of moving vehicles, such as trains, buses, and car. Unfortunately, some of these photographers are not getting out of the way in time. A 15-year-old girl from Russia was killed this past March by a freight train when trying to take a selfie on the tracks with a friend. The friend was able to jump out of the way but the girl was not so lucky.
6. Animal Attack
Animals do not understand selfies or social media, and they have no problem ruining a photo with an attack. In Spain back in August 2015, a 32-year-man was killed when gored by a bull. The man was watching the annual Running of the Bulls event when he left a protected area to take a selfie with the dangerous animal.
A surprising 16 people have been killed by electrocution when taking a selfie, and some are because of the infamous selfie sticks. An English hiker was killed in July 2015 by a bolt of lighting in Whales. The man reportedly was taking a picture with a selfie stick when an unexpected thunderstorm caught him by surprise. Other electrocutions stem from individuals climbing on top of train cars, such as the 13-year-old Russian boy who was killed after touching a 27,500-volt cable in May.
Selfie Death By Age
The N.C.B.I. study showed adults ages 20 to 29 had the highest rate of selfie casualties with 106 deaths. Here is how the other age groups compared:
- 76 deaths for ages 10 to 19
- 106 deaths for ages 20 to 29
- 20 deaths for ages 30 to 39
- 4 deaths for ages 40 to 49
- 2 deaths for ages 20 to 29
- 3 deaths for ages 60 to 69
Contrary to popular belief, most of the individuals who are dying from selfies are not professional photographers and famous Instagram stars. Everyday people on vacation or just around their area are pushing the limits for a shocking photo, and losing their lives in the process.
Campaigns to Stop Fatal Selfies
Similar to traffic safety campaigns, countries are starting to implement selfie safety programs to warn people to stop taking risks. According to The Verge, Russia launched its first Safe Selfie campaign in 2015. The motto of the campaign reads: “Every million ‘likes’ on social media are not worth your life and well-being.”
Cities in India have also started taking steps to promote selfie safety. Mumbai has designated ‘no selfie zones’ where tourists often take risks for a picture.
How To Take A Safe Selfie
In honor of National Selfie Day, our team at Jacobs & Wallace wants you to participate safely. Here are a few steps you can take when snapping your selfie today to reduce your risk of injury:
- Stay focused on your surroundings, not your photo.
- Know the statistics about the most dangerous photos and learn from them.
- Do not break the law to get a selfie.
- Do not climb or lean over high areas to take a photo.
- Avoid taking photos with wild animals that are not behind barriers.
- Don’t take selfies while driving a car or boat or any other vehicle.
- Do not try to beat a moving vehicle for a picture.
- Put the firearms away.
- Never move safety barriers and signs to take a photo- there are there for a reason!