Whenever you hold your phone out in front of you to capture that perfect selfie, you never expect to die in the process. The sad reality of distracted phone use is resulting in more selfie deaths than ever before. As we become more obsessed with ourselves, we tend to forget about what’s going on around us. According to the website Priceonomics, there have been 49 selfie deaths since 2014. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to capture fun times with friends, but take note of the cautionary tales below and practice safe selfies.
One of the first reported selfie deaths was Mohammad Chaar from Lebanon. Moments after taking a selfie in the streets of Beirut, Chaar died when a car bomb exploded in January 2014. For many young Lebanese citizens, this hit home. Chaar was simply doing what many of us do on a frequent basis; taking a selfie. This kind of senseless act could have happened to any of them. This began the “Not a Martyr” campaign. The mission of this campaign is the refusal to accept the desensitized life that many in Lebanon have come to known. On the group’s Facebook page, members post pictures of themselves, along with the future they’d like to see for their country.
In January of last year, three college students in India died while attempting to take a selfie as close to a moving train as possible. The students were on their way to the Taj Mahal when they decided to stop the car and try to take a selfie in front of an oncoming train. Unfortunately, they didn’t get off of the tracks quick enough. India actually has a bad selfie deaths problem, as they lose the most citizens due to selfies than any other country in the world. The problem is so bad that Mumbai was forced to create no selfie zones in hopes of reducing the fatality rate.
The Russian government had to get involved in selfie safety after two soldiers died in January 2015 while taking a selfie with a live grenade. The Interior Ministry created a leaflet, video, and web campaign in an effort to prevent future selfie deaths. In the leaflet are tips such as not taking selfies with lions or with guns.
You may have seen videos or selfies that double as death defying acts. One Instagram user, Drewsssik, took a lot of these types of photos. Last year, the 17-year-old was trying to take a selfie that would look like he was falling. Unfortunately, the teenage fell for real and lost his life.
Just this year, a Washington state man shot himself in the face with a gun while taking a selfie. The man’s girlfriend said that he had taken other selfies with firearms, but always checked to ensure that the gun was not loaded. In a similar situation, a 19-year-old from Texas shot himself while trying to take a selfie with his gun pointed at his head. He, too, believed that the gun was empty.