Selfies is among the biggest trends of the current decade. The craze for selfies is so huge, that half the tech industry is cashing on the trend by launching smartphones with huge selfie cameras. In fact, Coca-Cola recently bagged on the selfie love by introducing bottles with a selfie camera attached to the bottom. However, sadly, what started as a recreational habit to capture the favorite moments on camera, has turned into a death ride. According to a study published by US-based Carnegie Mellon University and Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi, the death toll around the world due to selfies is increasing, with India topping the ranks.
The study, titled as, ‘Me, Myself and My Killfie: Characterizing and Preventing Selfie Deaths’, suggests that more people have died in India in the past two years than the total number of selfie-related deaths in the rest of the world. Using special search techniques to fish through the internet and social media for data, the researchers spotted about 127 confirmed selfie deaths since March 2014. And quite unsurprisingly, the researchers blame the urge for users to get the maximum likes and comments on social media to go to extremes for a selfie that stands out. “(The) clicking dangerous selfies (has proved) to be so disastrous that during the year 2015 alone, there have been more deaths caused due to selfies than shark attacks all over the world,” the researchers said in a blog post.
The study quotes various recent examples, where people died while taking a selfie. It includes three North Indian students who died while clicking a selfie in front of an oncoming train, another student died when the cliff he was standing on to take a selfie cracked, sending him plunging 18 meters into a ravine, and many others. Also, earlier this year, there was a report of five girls who were injured, two of them severely, when they fell off a cliff while clicking selfies at Anjuna village. The girls fell off the cliff on 22 February this year, when the gate of the railing on which they were leaning opened.
The study also reveals that Pakistan follows closely when it comes to selfie-related deaths. China, which has a population much greater than India’s, only had four selfie-related deaths, in the study period of the research. The issue of death by selfies, which has now also come to be termed as ‘killfies’ has been an issue of concern for a while now. Even in 2015, a startling statistic had surfaced, which showed that there had been more deaths due to selfie mishaps, than shark attacks. In 2015, the causes of death due to selfie mishaps rose to 12, while there had been comparatively only eight deaths due to shark attacks. ALSO READ: Five girls in Goa fall off cliff while taking selfie
Additionally, worried with reports of deaths due to craze for wildlife selfies, conservationists have raised concerns about enthusiasts risking their lives and endangering animals for photographs. “The trend is of people clicking selfies when they spot animals or are holding them and upload on social media. No one should die. As long as it’s 3D (someone taking a picture with wildlife in the background) it is okay but one shouldn’t risk lives. I would suggest don’t do it,” said Pradeep Vyas, West Bengal’s principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden. ALSO READ: More humans killed due to selfie mishaps than shark attacks: Report
In an effort to dodge the selfie death in the country, Indian municipalities have been attempting to alert the public with ‘no-selfie zones’. Last year, no-selfie zones were established in certain areas of the Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings. More recently, Mumbai Police identified and marked more than a dozen no-selfie zones across the city, including the infamous Marine Drive, Chowpatty beach, the beach fronts at Dadar and Juhu, the Bandra Bandstand, and the forts at Worli and Bandra. ALSO READ: Syrian rebel blows himself up while taking selfie