It seems there’s a silly news story about selfies every week.
Last week, it was the group of sorority girls attending an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game who were shamed by Fox Sports commentators for taking selfies or playing with their phones. This story went deeper when the girls were offered free tickets from the organization as an apology, they declined and asked that donations be made to a non-profit dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence. Some pointed out the problem with shaming girls for taking selfies.
So, when I tell you that new findings have determined selfies are more deadly than shark attacks, that’s not the full extent of the story. When Mashable crunched the numbers, they found that the number of selfie-related deaths in 2015 as of Sept 21 was 12, while the number of fatal shark attacks was merely eight. That doesn’t seem like much of a difference, right? Except that the number of shark attacks–and as a result, fatalities–is unusually high this year.
Typically, the US only sees one fatal shark attack every two years. Though this doesn’t account for the rest of the world, while Mashable’s numbers do, the difference between selfie-related deaths and the average is much bigger when you examine past years’ evidence.
As explained by Mashable, four of the selfie-related deaths this year were the result of falling, while others were caused by photo-takers being hit by a train. Additionally, trends in daredevil selfies have been developing with the rise in photo popularity; people have taken selfies with bears, during a bull run, next to a volcano, and while jumping off a cliff.
When you look at the lengths individuals will go to in order to get that fantastic shot, and pair that with the dangers of being distracted by staring at your phone, it’s easy to see how the number of selfie-related deaths is so high this year. Hopefully, as people begin to understand the risks of not paying attention to their surroundings, the numbers will begin to decrease, but that remains to be seen.
Feature photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley.