A man takes a selfie at Christ the Redeemer in Brazil. Picture: Supplied
A man takes a selfie at Christ the Redeemer in Brazil. Picture: Supplied

Selfies are now a ‘major health problem’

AT LEAST 250 people across the world have died in the past six years taking selfies, a new study has found.

Researchers associated with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a group of public medical colleges based in New Delhi, found that there were 259 selfie-related deaths from October 2011 to November 2017.

A woman hangs dangerously off the edge of the cliff to take a selfie. Picture: Tim Pascoe
A woman hangs dangerously off the edge of the cliff to take a selfie. Picture: Tim Pascoe

The researchers wrote in their paper, published in the July-August edition of the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, that the most common way selfie-takers die is through drowning.

That was quickly followed by incidents involving transport, like taking a selfie in front of an oncoming train, or from falling from great heights.

"The selfie deaths have become a major public health problem," Agam Bansal, the study's lead author, told The Washington Post.

Researchers suggested selfie free zones like on mountain peaks like the Australian Blue Mountains, seen here. Picture: Supplied
Researchers suggested selfie free zones like on mountain peaks like the Australian Blue Mountains, seen here. Picture: Supplied

More than 85 per cent of the victims were between the ages of 10 and 30, Mr Bansal said.

India was found to have the highest number of selfie-related deaths, followed by Russia, the US and Pakistan.

"If you're just standing, simply taking it with a celebrity or something, that's not harmful," Mr Bansel said. "But if that selfie is accompanied with risky behaviour then that's what makes the selfies dangerous."

"What worries me the most is that it is a preventable cause of death," Bansal said. "Taking a toll on these many numbers just because you want a perfect selfie because you want a lot of likes, shares on Facebook, Twitter or other social media, I don't think this is worth compromising a life for such a thing."

Mr Bansal said one way to prevent the deaths is to have "selfie free zones", which would ban people taking selfies near mountain peaks, tall buildings and bodies of water.

Russia has already launched a "Safe Selfie" campaign with the slogan "Even a million 'likes' on social media are not worth your life and wellbeing".

Mumbai has declared 16 "no selfie zones" after a spate of deaths.



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