Death by Selfie

It was only a few years ago that “selfie” was one of the new words inducted into Webster’s dictionary of the English language. Now, it is a concept that is common place all over the globe. Unfortunately, more and more news stories have been surfacing of selfie related deaths. Several months ago, for example, a teenager in India was struck and killed while trying to take a selfie in front of an oncoming train.

Such a pattern has emerged that Priceonomics, an economics site, has gathered statistics about the people who’ve lost their lives while taking selfies. The results are somewhat staggering: Since 2014, 49 people had been reported dead as a result of some sort of accident involving a selfie. (And this is likely an underestimate, as not every selfie-related death was probably reported in the media.) More than a quarter of selfie-related deaths, perhaps unsurprisingly, are concentrated among 21-year-olds, and 75 percent are male.


The most dangerous places to take a self-portrait seem to be high places or in water: 16 people died from falling off a cliff or a tall building, while 14 drowned. Posing next to an oncoming train is responsible for eight deaths, coming in at third place. The other reasons are violent: gunshot (four), grenade (two), plane crash (two), car crash (two), and animal (one).

Of the 49 cases we examined, not a single death was caused by the selfie itself. It would appear that nobody has ever been fatally impaled by a selfie stick; no one has ever died from the flash of the camera. In fact, the selfie seems to serve as an inopportune catalyst — a distractor in situations where the picture-taker should instead be focused on safety.

Whether you’re in a car, at the side of a road, or have scaled some heights, the priority always needs to be safety, in spite of the temptation to capture that risqué photo. Practice safe selfie, everyone!

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