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Selfie-taking and the tragedy of accidental deaths

by Ranabir Bhattacharyya | 30 JUNE 2018

selfie taking and the tragedy of accidental deaths
 Image used for representational purpose only

The first ever ‘selfie’ was taken in 1839, by an American photographer named Robert Cornelius. He achieved this by removing the lens cap, running into frame, and standing still for 10 minutes. 170 years later, with the advent of the front camera, the selfie quickly swung into popularity with people of all ages. Social media further heightened the craze, with people posting their selfies and embracing a new form of expression. However, as with any fad, there were a few who took it to the extreme.

 

In an attempt to stand out among the selfie crowds, or perhaps simply to capture every exhilarating moment of their lives, a few ardent selfie-takers venture to elevated areas, on cliff edges or bridges. A careless misstep is all it takes to send a person tumbling over the edge. A study by Drs. Dokur, Petekkaya and Karadag, which analysed 111 separate accidents, found that most of the 159 victims from these events perished due to falling from heights, and either suffering fatal injuries, or drowning. Most of the victims were found to be teenagers or young adults, with the largest number of accidents taking place in India, Russia and in the US.

 

Dr. Shubha Madhusudhan, a Clinical Psychologist at Fortis Hospitals, attributes the desire to take such selfies to a need for self-gratification. “People are getting obsessed about their own self, and [their] posting it on social media shows that they are seeking approval, validation and attention from unknown people,” she says. She explains that constant criticism, and feelings of lack of accomplishments lowers self-esteem in children, leading to them turning to other sources for appreciation. “Rewards enhance morale and transferring of values has to be firm but gentle.  Give love and [guide] children with better direction."

 

The problems behind the behavior of obsessive selfie-taking run deep, and require care and effort to root out and solve. However, it is best to avoid being distracted by taking a picture, be it of yourself or someone else, no matter the intent, if your environment requires your attention to traverse it safely.


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