Beware: selfie takes life


What was the most extreme selfie shot you have ever done so far? What inspired you to do it and what did you get from doing it? What does selfie mean, anyway?

The Lexico, defines selfie as  a “photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.”  This activity was then termed as ‘selfitis‘ or ‘selfism‘,  a genuine mental condition among people who feel compelled to continually post pictures of themselves on social media.

Many people, especially those who are not in favor of selfies, would say that it is a mental disorder.  Psychologists suggest that they should seek help as too much selfie-taking would lead to narcissism, the pursuit of satisfying oneself by idealizing and admiring self-image, self-importance and qualities and trying to impose this on others by seeking approval.

Now, the world is overwhelmed with taking selfies.  It is very popular among all ages from newborn babies (taken by their parents or others) to 89-year-old grandma and other old people. Some people say that taking selfies moderately is not a problem but when you do it obsessively to the extent of risking your life just to have that rare chance of a photo with something or someone is something else!

Indeed, the pursuit of the most envied and most talked about selfie is reaching an overwhelming and very alarming status.  There had been documented selfie accidents and deaths between 2011 and 2017 as revealed by a global study in this BBC article.

A recent report revealed that there had been 259 documented deaths from 2011 to 2017 which are related to selfies. This figure only accounts for those that have been reported.  The researchers accept the idea that there may be other deaths that are related to taking selfies but were not reported as such.

The latest selfie death that can be read online is that of Sydney Monfries, who fell to her death in April 2019 after climbing Fordham University’s iconic clock tower few weeks before her graduation. Her curiosity to get a glimpse of the view had inspired her to insist on climbing.  For senior students at Fordham, getting into the most popular building in their campus was a big thing.

Image Source: NY Times

Another sensational selfie death was that of Gigi Wu,  the 36 years old famous hiker from Taiwan who was known for her daring selfie shots atop famous mountain wearing a bikini. Her fans loved the bikini personas she made as a trademark for herself and her courage and passion for climbing and sharing her experiences with her friends and followers.

Image Source: Remembering Gigi Wu Facebook page

Outside Online wrote that in January this year, while on a solo traverse to Yushan National Park in Taiwan, she fell into a remote ravine while attempting a summit in the peaks. She was able to contact her friends and reported the incident through her satellite phone.  She reported she could not move the lower part of her body.  Emergency workers rushed to her rescue but they were too late and found her dead.

An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) also died allegedly because of her attempts to have selfies in a waterfall in Tai Mo Shan Country Park in Hong Kong (HK) about noon on April 5, 2019.  This was posted by OFW Newsbeat on April 6, 2019.

Other cases of selfie deaths have been written and published to warn people that obsessive selfie-taking poses a risk to someone’s life.  It is alright to take photos of yourself to share with your family and friends but there must be a caution as taking this activity to a higher level that involves danger may be the ultimate cause of your death.


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