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Would ‘no-selfie zones’ at dangerous tourist attractions save lives?

4th Oct 2018
Written by: Dave Owen

Researchers are calling for many tourist attractions to designate ‘no-selfie zones’ in order to prevent accidental deaths.

Between October 2011 and November 2017, at least 259 people died while trying to get the perfect Instagram shot. That’s according to a new study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care.

More worrying is how the number of deaths has increased in recent years. In 2011, there were only three ‘deaths by selfie’, rising to 50 in 2015, and 93 in 2017 up to November.

“Selfies are themselves not harmful, but the human behaviour that accompanies selfies is dangerous,” said the authors of the study. “Individuals need to be educated regarding certain risky behaviours and risky places where selfies should not be taken.”

They are recommending that ‘no-selfie zones’ be designated in many tourist areas, especially bodies of water, mountain peaks, and tall buildings, to reduce the number of selfie-related deaths.

underwater selfie shark

Drowning was responsible for 70 deaths, while ‘transport’ deaths – taking a picture while driving or with a fast-moving train – numbered 51. Falls were responsible for 48 deaths.

Other deaths involved electrocution, animals, and firearms – people posing with a gun and accidentally shooting themselves. The study shows that teenagers, particularly young men, are at most risk from selfie-related deaths.

This is not the first time that ‘no-selfie zones’ have been proposed. Indeed, they have been enforced in India around large religious gatherings, where people stopping to take selfies can lead to bottle necks and stampedes.

The study also notes that devices and apps are in development that can detect when people are trying to take a selfies in dangerous situations and warn them.

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