PEOPLE ARE DYING TO TAKE SELFIES
Taking selfies and sharing them with the world is addictive. Tragically, many people can’t resist doing it even when it’s unsafe. If they climb a mountain, they want to take a selfie at the edge of the peak. If they’re vacationing on a ship, they want to take a selfie while sitting on the guard rail. If they accidentally fall into a lion’s enclosure at the zoo, they want to take a selfie with the lion.
This reckless selfie-taking has resulted in numerous deaths. Though the exact number of fatalities isn’t known, four Indian researchers—Agam Bansal, Chandan Garg, Abhijith Pakhare and Samiksha Gupta— have given us an estimate. They studied news reports in English and found that from October 2011 to November 2017, there were 259 selfie-related deaths in 137 incidents worldwide. Their study, titled “Selfies: A boon or bane?” and published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, found that the mean age of the victims was about 23 years, which means that selfies are claiming a lot of young lives. The country with the most selfie incidents and deaths is India, followed by Russia, United States, and Pakistan. The riskiest place to take a selfie appears to be near oceans, lakes, and other water bodies. Seventy victims drowned after falling into water while taking a selfie.
The researchers recommend that “no-selfie zones” be declared across tourist areas, especially around water bodies, mountain peaks, and tall buildings. Perhaps they should include this sign: “Smile. This may be your last selfie.”
Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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