Imagine taking a selfie on the top of Taj Mahal during a sunset. The view behind you is spectacular and you look the best you’ve ever looked. You back up a step to frame yourself better – then fall hundreds of feet to your death. This is what happened on Sept. 18, when a Japanese man suffered serious head injuries falling down a staircase at the Taj Mahal while attempting to take a selfie with the famous structure. He later died in a hospital.
People feel the compulsion to take the rarest selfies for bragging rights or to get the perfect picture of themselves in front of beautiful views. However, like the Taj Mahal case, getting that selfie may come at a steep cost.
Looking for that angle
Online news organization Mashable has found out there were more selfie – deaths than shark related deaths so far this year: 12 vs. eight. The fact that there are selfie deaths alone is troubling; the fact that they are more than shark fatalities is egregious.
The Taj Mahal incident wouldn’t seem as alarming if it were the only recent selfie related death. A teenager was electrocuted in May trying to take a selfie atop a train in Romania and three college students died while trying to take a selfie in front of a moving train in India at the beginning of the year. The cost of that perfect selfie is a steep price to pay.
Selfie addiction is a thing
Obsession with selfies has become so widespread that many medical professionals now consider it a mental illness. British selfie addict Danny Bowman, dropped out of school and stayed withdrawn in his house for six months to take hundreds of selfies for 10 hours a day. When he couldn’t take a good selfie, he attempted suicide by overdosing on pills.
“This is a serious problem,” David Veal said, a psychiatrist at the hospital that admitted Bowman. “It’s not a vanity issue. It’s a mental health one which has an extremely high suicide rate.”
Whether selfie addiction does increase suicidal thoughts or not is still up for debate, however, one thing people can be sure of is that taking selfies may become dangerous when trying to get the perfect shot.
Against the law
During Spain’s Running of the Bulls event in Paloma last year, a man tried to take a selfie with a bull prompting the Spanish Government to ban the practice and set a $4,100 (3,000 euro) fine. That same year, New York passed a tiger selfie ban with a $500 fine to discourage single men from breaking into zoos and taking pictures with tigers for dating profiles.
Governments around the world have had to enforce laws to protect people because, considering the Taj Mahal and Paloma incidents, we can no longer be trusted with own safety when it comes to selfies. People should have the common sense not to take photos in dangerous places or circumstances. Unfortunately, because the practice continues, the authorities have to step up.
Although we the selfie is ubiquitous now, people should be more aware of their surroundings and steer clear from danger. There are many ways to die, but don’t let a selfie kill you.