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Lethal selfies

October 4, 2018.

Man falling and taking a selfie.

Last selfie. © iStock.

A group of health researchers in India have tried to tally the death toll from selfie taking, counting 259 deaths worldwide from October 2011 to November 2017. This probably underestimates the casualties, as the researchers went only from news reports. The top three causes of death were, in order, drowning (carried away by riptides, falling off a boat, slipping off a shore or a bridge, etc), transportation related (mostly being hit by trains), and falling off of things, such as a cliff edge or a balcony. Unsurprisingly, the death rate increased over the reference period, with just a few reports in the first few years, and nearly 100 each in 2016 and 2017. As is the case for most accidental deaths, men were overrepresented, accounting for 72.5% of the fatalities. The mean death-by-selfie age was 23 years old, and the vast majority of deaths befell those aged 10 to 29. The US stands out by its number of selfie fatalities involving firearms. Handling a loaded gun while loading a photo to Instagram—not a good idea.

The Verge, “Here are the top ways people die while taking selfies and ‘being cool’.”