You know a word has become the rage, if Oxford, the most popular dictionary have declared it the word of the year. Selfie, which was awarded the best word for 2013, has hit a level where it can be called a phenomenon. Though humans have a history of getting overly obsessed with such phenomenon, and that is what happened and is still happening with Selfies. To get more social media attention people are capturing selfies at dangerous places and with dangerous animals. It all has lead to heavy injuries and even deaths of those attempting to take an ultimate selfie.
Now if you attended, watched or read the news about what Google announced at their I/O 2016, then you must be aware of the staggering numbers of the Google Photos that the Mountain View giant shared at the stage. Well, if you haven’t let us briefly explain about it. Google revealed that within 1 year of offering the Google Photos service, there are now more than 200 million people using this app each month. Moreover, from the 2 Trillion labels marked by users, 24 Billion of them were Selfies.
That is amazing as well as a scary number. Amazing because people who are clicking personal selfies with their family and friends at a get together are the moments that’ll be cherished forever. While it is scary because people these days would go to any length to get a daring selfie, even though, probably no one individually challenged them but they set out on their own to dare, and it may result badly for them.
Rise in Selfie Death
According to the information gathered, we were able to found out the Selfie Deaths have been increased over the years, and it can be directly linked to the popularity of the Selfie focused smartphone. In 2014, there were 15 deaths recorded that occurred during, or in immediate connection with taking a selfie. The number doubled next year at 31 deaths excluding the injuries that happened during capturing selfie.
How many people are killed by selfies each year?
The answer is approximately 20+ and rising, unless people are made aware that a life should not be risked for a selfie. We have mentioned a few suggestions at the end of this article that could help you more on this issue.
According to TIME, the number of deaths due to selfies were higher than the deaths by shark attacks, which is a terrifying fact. It is not listed as an official cause of death, but over the past two years, the fatalities due to it have been increased to a massive number when compared with various other death causes. It is particularly reported that people took pictures at heights and met their demise while attempting to take selfies from heights, most commonly a high rise building or a cliff. Moreover, drowning is the second most case for selfie deaths. While people getting hit by a train, car crash and even accidentally shooting themselves or someone else as they attempt to take selfies. In an attempt to take most daring selfies, these people have lost their lives and some have been seriously injured.
Why do people capture a selfie?
Selfies have become a part of our culture, they not only take selfies for just fun but to sometimes showcase survival and self-preservation as well. The best instance is when a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing last year in summer due to some medical situation on board, as the oxygen masks come down, some passenger’s camera phones were out as they can be seen posting selfies on the internet. You may think this is straight up narcissism, but according to the psychologists, it is an instinct to snap a selfie in a near death experience. Thus, it isn’t narcissism at all, but it’s also about survival and the protection of oneself from death.
There can be a lot of differences in motivation to take a selfie, while as suggested in emergencies people take their pictures and post on social media to showcase self-preservation. But there can be more than one kind of motivation. Such as you would have seen snaps of human and animals (mostly dogs & cats), which depicts the interaction between these two living beings as the selfless behavior of the humankind. This way people like to be portrayed as kind and courageous. As these pictures are common when people trying to save abandoned strays or even raising awareness about welfare issues prevailing in their societies. For most it offers some kind of fulfillment, and that can be counted as one of the reasons why it has become a focal point. While selfies can be good for showcasing human kindness as mentioned above, many people today, mostly teenagers are taking selfies to get more likes on their Facebook and Instagram pages, according to this report, as it is like a reward for them.
What is the average age of people taking selfies?
The selfie is most popular among the teenagers as the rise of selfie focused apps like Snapchat has allowed consumers to share their private life with social media. And with celebrities taking selfies in all kinds of dangerous ways provokes its fanbase that they can be as cool and famous they’re. This has given birth to Internet celebrities who are posting pictures in most weird and creative ways to gain the maximum eyeballs on their social media account. So, the average age can be easily stated somewhere between 13-19, which is the teenage range. Though, there are studies and evidence suggest that every millennial (Young Adults) takes up to 25,000 pictures in their lifetime. Conducted in Boston, this study reveals that more than 95% of you adults admitted to having taken one such picture of themselves. Moreover, with a brief glance at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feed will confirm that millennial are dedicated to narrating their lives with selfies. As they especially enjoy sharing them in their network of social acquaintances.
India is Obsessed with Selfies
The rising deaths concerns in countries like United States, Russia, and the Philippines have alerted respective countries to work on laws for such obsession and restrict them as far as they can. While on the other hand is Selfie obsessed nation, India, which has seen a rise in selfie fatalities to the highest in the world. It’s shocking to find out after doing quick research that India accounts for more than 40% of death every year and its increase very rapidly.
This new cool quotient has taken many lives in the country where social media obsession is at the peak among teenagers in metro cities. One of the first selfie deaths dates back to May 2014, when a 15-year-old boy was instantly killed by a speeding train as he was posing for a selfie on the track. Another incident happened in same state later that year when a 14-year-old boy got electrocuted as he was attempting to take a selfie on top of a stationary train.
As the selfie addiction increased to get an attention and showcase narcissism the fatalities have risen since then as next year, i.e. 2015, the selfie deaths count increased to 15. Where seven youths were drowned while taking selfies on Mangrul Lake near Kuhi, which is about 20 KM from Nagpur, India. They were trying to pose on a boat, which had tipped over. Most of the demise has happened either falling from heights or drowning in the river. Up until now the total count has risen to 29 deaths, which is an estimated count as per the reports.
To deal with this selfie obsession, there are certain cities that have taken precaution so that people don’t take selfies risking their lives just to get likes and attention on the social media. The police force in Mumbai, the capital of the state of Maharashtra in India has taken strict actions and has identified 16 “No Selfie Zones” across the city, after a man attempting to save a girl and take a selfie of saving her drowned in the ocean. These 16 sites are deemed as dangerous including major tourist spots in the city. Last year in September, officials set up no-selfie zones at the Kumbh Mela, which is country’s largest Hindu festival. It was created to prevent bottlenecks in the huge crowd. Thus, ensuring no fatalities.
Not only Mumbai police, but security officials around the world feel this and have banned the tourist spots in their respective countries as it is unsafe.
Growth of Selfie Smartphones
Smartphones have seen a tremendous increase in sales over the past couple of years around the world; they not only make such interact with each other over voice but also let us see via various video calling tools. Thus, enabling us to do more than just talk. The most important factor these days on a smartphone is their camera modules; every brand is focused on bringing the best camera outputs on their sensors. And with companies identifying selfie obsession of the consumers after research study, the market was started to flood with selfie focused smartphone. The front modules, which started with 0.3MP modules and were just the luxury for some smartphone users is now become one of the key factors of sales these days. That’s why you can see at least a 5MP front module in almost every smartphone these days.
Keeping the base of our data at 5MP module, we were able to gather the data from various reports and find out how many selfie focused smartphone have been launched since the year of 2013. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. But in 2013 there was only 32 smartphone with the secondary camera as 5-megapixel or more. While the next year number increased as the technology did, since mobile brands started to add even 8MP modules that year. There were around 152 smartphones in 2014 that were packing 5MP or 8MP front modules. This number increased further up to 364, which is a more than double jump in the number of a smartphone with selfie focused features. The year 2015 saw the smartphones even with 13-megapixel resolution sensor on the front. This year so far the smartphones with the camera more than 5MP resolution sit at 153, where you can even add 16MP modules as front snapper, for instance, OPPO F1 Plus.
The selfie obsession can be directly linked to the rise of the good smartphone cameras, as people can capture high quality images of themselves. Dr. Avinash D’ Souza, Research Associate, LTMG Sion Hosptial and a psychiatrist has raised this concern who see lots of cases of Selfitis, which is the condition of Selfie addiction as coined by American Psychiatric Association. Here a person develops an obsessive compulsion disorder of taking selfies. He said that these people lack self-gratification as they seek approval from the virtual world. The Selfitis has three stages, Borderline, Acute and Chronic severe which are categorized according to the number of selfies a person is capturing and posting every day on the internet.
Selfies for Good Cause
Selfie is an obsession and a person taking a lot of it can be called as a narcissist or either down with the Selfitis disorder as stated by APA. But once humans put their minds to convert anything for a good cause it can be a very powerful thing. One such thing happened when women across the world decided to trend the “No Make-up Selfie”, where women post their selfie without wearing any make-up. This trend across the world helped Cancer Research UK raise more than £2 million.
The campaign asked women to post their selfies without any make-up with a hashtag #nomakeupselfie. The organization was surprised by the response of the campaign, which was for a very good cause, to raise awareness about cancer and fund the research for it. This begs the question why can’t humans use social media for only such powerful acts of kindness and unity rather than risking their lives for something not valuable.
Do’s & Don’ts of Taking a Selfie
- Try to take a picture on the steady ground and keeping your wits about you.
- Do not under any situation pose with a loaded gun.
- Do not pose for a selfie with or near a dangerous animal.
- Don’t climb on train and pose on railway tracks.
- It is not advised to take selfies while operating heavy machinery.
- Do not attempt to capture a selfie in circumstances when you need to be alert and pay attention.