We know you want to stock your Instagram with killer selfies. But some take it too far, taking selfies that actually cause injury or death.
It sounds like a twisted joke, but unfortunately, it’s a real problem – one that researchers in India are attempting to study and quantify.
The study reviewed media reports of deaths by selfie, and while the researchers admit that this is not a surefire way to count all selfie-related deaths, it is perhaps the first attempt to count these tragedies. The study, titled “Me, Myself and My Killfie,” counted 127 deaths by selfie from 2014 to 2016.
While there were deaths all around the world, more half of the selfie-related deaths took place in India.
Researchers, law enforcement, and government officials are attempting to raise awareness about the problem. In June, India’s minister of shipping, road transport and highways teamed up with Samsung to create an educational YouTube video warning Indian citizens about the dangers of taking selfies in stupid places and in unsafe circumstances.
According to Rajendran Narayanan, who worked on the study, “the act of taking a selfie in itself isn’t harmful or dangerous.” After all, most selfies are snapped without incident. However, Narayanan explains that what makes these snapshots unsafe is taking them in a dangerous location.
Most of the selfie-related deaths in India were caused when people tried to take selfies with wild animals, on railway tracks, and in or near moving vehicles. This summer a 28-year old Indian man was trampled by an elephant when he snuck into a restricted safari area to snap a shot.
Other accidents occur when selfie-snappers get too close to ledges or bodies of water. For example, four people were swept off a cliff by waves near the Arabian Sea. Last year, three women fell into the water at the beach while taking a self portrait. While two were rescued, a third was drowned, as was the person attempting the rescue.
In the United States and Russia, there were more selfie deaths that involved firearms. Outside of India, others countries have also tried to raise awareness about taking dangerous selfies. Russia has created an unsafe selfie campaign, and Spain has banned selfies during the annual running of the bulls.
The authors of the study have also created an app, called Saftie, which sends text message alerts to Android users when they come close to a location that has been marked as an area where selfie deaths have occurred.
While this app may help, there’s nothing quite like common sense to prevent a needless death or injury.