This article originally appeared on VICE CA.
A new study has found more than 250 people have died in pursuit of a perfect selfie.
The study published by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care journal (and republished by the National Library of Medicine in the States) looks into how many of us social media obsessed plebs are dying for the ‘gram. Led by Dr. Agam Bansal at the India Institute of Medical Sciences, the study analysed news articles from October 2011 to November 2017 and found there have been 259 reported deaths—dubbed selficides in one part of the article—resulting from that never-ending thirst for Instagram likes.
Some of these deaths have been relatively high profile. In Canada—while we don’t know if it was for a selfie—three social media influencers were killed this year after falling into a river and being swept over a waterfall. In May of this year, a man in India was mauled to death by a bear while trying to get a selfie. There have been several stories of people falling just after they’ve taken the selfie leaving only the ghostly photo of them seconds before their demise. The study makes it clear that this isn’t a small problem and there are almost certainly more people out there who died taking selfies than the 259 they reported on.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” reads part of the study. “Many cases are not reported.”
In regards to those 259, the researchers broke down the geography of the deaths and found that the “highest number of incidents and selfie-deaths” were in “India followed by Russia, the United States, and Pakistan.” The average age of those getting killed was unsurprisingly pretty young at 22.94 years. According to the data, the chance of you reaching death by selfie drops off significantly (again, unsurprisingly) by the time someone hits 30. Just over three-quarters of those killed taking selfies were men (also, unsurprisingly).
India led the way with almost 50 percent of the fatalities reported in the study. The study suggests one of the reasons for this is because India has a relatively young population and therefore has more people in the age group prone to dying this way. The researchers do write that there may be another factor though.
“Our study has shown that the ratio of deaths to incidents is almost double in India,” reads the study. “This unique feature could be attributed to the reason that the trend of group selfies is more prevalent in India as compared to other countries.”
The top three causes of deaths were drowning, being hit by a vehicle, or falling. In terms of the vehicle-related deaths the biggest killer has been people trying to get that perfect shot in front of a moving train. Unsurprisingly the United States leads when it comes to firearm-related selfie deaths.
So, you ask, how can we solve this situation? How can we keep our young from walking into the mouth of a volcano or whatever? Well, the study puts forth the idea of “no-selfie zones” in dangerous areas for those mortality-challenged millennials out there.
“Selfies are themselves not harmful, but the human behaviour that accompanies selfies is dangerous. Individuals need to be educated regarding certain risky behaviours and risky places where selfies should not be taken,” reads the study. No selfie zones “should be declared across many tourist areas especially places such as water bodies, mountain peaks, and over tall buildings to decrease the incidence of selfie-related deaths.”
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