When selfies kill: Campaigns, rules under way to stop the madness

How did we get here? Selfie madness has a new meaning, and it’s not funny anymore — it’s deadly.

Gruesome deaths are increasingly being attributed to society’s obsession with taking pictures of oneself having fun, going to envy-inducing places and posting it all on social media. Some governments and rule-makers are starting to think intervention, Reuters reports.

“A cool selfie could cost you your life,” reads a poster from a campaign by Russia’s Interior Ministry, according to Reuters. The campaign uses videos and booklets, too, and is reportedly a response to “dozens of grisly selfie-related deaths and injuries in early 2015.”

It’s not hard to picture how some selfie-related deaths and injuries have involved grenades, bridges and wild animals. Also, guns: This week in Houston, Texas, a 19-year-old man reportedly died after posing with a gun while taking selfies.

The sobering news comes after mostly lighthearted coverage of selfies. The word itself made its debut a couple of years ago in the Oxford dictionaries; selfie-takers have been chided for being rude; some museums have banned selfie sticks but are still encouraging selfies. Smile, there’s a selfie drone.

But the urge to share photos on social networks has involved danger for a while: Last year, I wrote about “outlaw Instagrammers” who climb bridges and skyscrapers so they can post incredible images on the photo-sharing network. Speaking of incredible images: The Reuters article cited above says Europe is considering a law criminalizing social-media posts containing images of landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Trevi Fountain in Rome.


Photo: The Dalai Lama poses for a presumably safe selfie with blogger and activist Alek Boyd during a break between panel discussions at an event entitled: “Happiness, Free Enterprise, and Human Flourishing” on Feb. 20, 2014, at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)


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