TORONTO — People will do anything to capture the perfect shot while on vacation, but at what cost?
According to a new global study by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, ‘selfie’ deaths are on the rise, with 259 deaths reported in 137 incidents from October 2011 to November 2017. There were only three selfie-related deaths in 2011, but that number spiked to 98 in 2016 and 93 in 2017.
Drowning, transport and falling were the top reasons for deaths caused by selfies, which is defined as any accidental death that occurs while doing self-photography or clicking selfies.
“Selfie deaths have become an emerging problem and we performed this study to assess the epidemiology of self-related deaths across the globe,” said the report.
The organization inputted keywords such as ‘selfie deaths’, ‘selfie accidents’ and ‘‘mobile death/accidents’ when gathering data. It found that the mean age of people who’ve died was 22.94 years, with 72.5% of total deaths occurring in males and 27.5% in females.
Where are selfies most dangerous? Russia, United States and Pakistan.
The report also stated that “this is just the tip of the iceberg”, with many cases not being reported. For example, certain deaths due to selfies may be reported as road traffic accidents or others, which leads to underreporting of a large number of cases.
In September 2018, a California woman fell to her death while taking selfies on the edge of a 200-foot cliff at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. In that same month, an Israeli teen also fell to his death while trying to take a selfie at Yosemite National Park.
In June, an Australian couple fell to their deaths while taking a selfie on a 30-metre high wall in Portugal. And in May of this year, a man in Odisha, India tried to take a selfie with a wounded bear and was mauled to death.
To keep click-happy tourists safe, researchers suggest the creation of ‘No selfie zones’ areas in places such as water bodies, mountain peaks and tall buildings.