At least 259 people have died due to selfies
There’s a thin line between taking a great selfie and taking your last selfie, according to a new report from the US National Library of Medicine.
The report, entitled Selfies: A boon or bane? charted the number of deaths due to selfies from October 2011 to November 2017. It found 259 deaths in this period, although the frequency of these events ramped-up considerably as there were only 18 cases before 2015.
These deaths took place across 137 “incidents”, many of which claimed multiple victims. The study mentions one case resulting in a whopping 48 casualties – although local press suggests nobody actually died.
Bucking gender stereotypes, 72.5% of these selfie takers were male. Although less surprisingly is the mean age of casualties at just under 23 years old.
By far, the majority of selfie deaths were in India, with 159 of the 259 reported deaths. In comparison Russia had 16, the US had 14 and the majority of countries, including the UK, France and Canada, had none. A disproportionate number of the deaths in India were from drowning, and many of the victims were students.
Although 259 deaths were found in the six-year period, many more could have happened due to limited reporting, according to the study. Since there is no official classification of “selfie death” many fatalities from unsafe selfies may be attributed to other causes, such as traffic accidents or falling from heights, and would therefore not be found by researchers.
Curiously the study only counted reported selfie deaths from English language publications, which again means the actual number of selfie deaths could be far higher.
The report concludes by calling for “no selfie zones” in tourist areas like mountain peaks, water bodies and the tops of tall buildings. What a “no-selfie zone” would actually entail, and how it would possibly be policed or punished, isn’t clear.
There are several flaws in the study, from its admitted language limitations to obvious typo errors (at one point they refer to “social medical” instead of “social media”), the aforementioned disprovable stats and a pervasive condescending tone.
The majority of its statistics, however, point to a troubling trend in selfie deaths. It’s no secret that social media can be unhealthy for users, and Selfies: A boon or bane? shows that the quest for a perfect profile picture can have fatal consequences.