Selfies can be fun but make sure your snap doesn’t turn into a trap. More than 250 people are reported to have died in their quest to take the perfect picture between 2011 and 2017 and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
According to research from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the most common causes of selfie-related deaths are:
While accidents are most common among young men, there are plenty of reported cases among older people too including the couple in Portugal who fell hundreds of feet off a cliff edge after crossing a safety barrier to take a selfie. Their two children, aged five and six, witnessed the tragedy but were thankfully unharmed.
Tips for safer selfies
While it may seem obvious that hanging over the edge of a high building or balcony to take a photo is not a good idea, this does not stop some people doing this.
As a result of these unsafe practices, a number of tourist attractions now offer people advice on where and how to take a safe selfie, while some locations have banned selfies altogether. In Yellowstone National Park in the USA, visitors are advised to not take selfies next to geysers, or in Yellowstone Lake, or in a hot water spring, or on the edge of the canyon or next to any of the wild animals in the Park.
As well as avoiding taking selfies near trains, on boats, near wild animals, with weapons ( a number of people have accidentally shot themselves while posing with guns), on roofs, on hills/mountains, on stairs, while driving, in the middle of the street and near electrical posts here are some more tips:
Other things to consider
The more aware you are of your surroundings the less likely things are to go wrong. As well as vertigo, broken bones and missed flights, research shows that those in search of the perfect selfie have suffered unexpected consequences including:
It’s also worth bearing in mind that a number of selfie accidents have occurred after people have been drinking. Apart from impairing your judgment alcohol can also affect your balance and ability to react quickly to a situation.
Selfie sticks can help you take better pictures but they need to be used with care as they can be annoying for other people and cause accidents. Many places – including football clubs, music venues, museums and theme parks – have now banned them.
Sharing selfies on social media may be a must for many, but that instagram or facebook share raise some important safety issues to consider.
That iconic selfie – holding up the leaning tower of Pisa, posing with Mickey Mouse, sunset on a beautiful beach – tells people that you’re not at home, so it’s worth making sure you use the proper privacy settings on your social media to ensure only the people you want to see your selfies actually do.
Selfies and social media posts should not be tied to self-esteem but the number of likes and shares matters to children and young adults and can lead to self-esteem or bullying issues as well as attract attention from online predators and identity thieves. Encourage children to think about why they are sharing a selfie – ideally capturing a fun moment rather than better bragging rights.
Teach children (or get them to teach you) about privacy settings. Only share if you are comfortable sharing with the world because what goes online, stays online so those swimsuit photographs could be around forever.
These companies have signed up to the Safer Tourism Pledge