more selfie deaths in India than rest of the world combined

India is in the news for the wrong reason this time. According to a recent study by scholars from Carnegie Mellon University and Indraprastha Institute of Information, Delhi, India has had the most number of deaths over the last two years, than any other country in the world, because of selfies being taken at odd times, in precarious positions. Using special search techniques to trawl the internet and social media, the researchers identified 127 confirmed selfie deaths since March 2014.

A trending blog detailing the study, titled ‘Me, Myself and My Killfie: Characterizing and Preventing Selfie Deaths’, stated: “Over the past two years, we found that a total of 127 deaths have been reported to be caused due to selfies, of which a whopping 76 deaths occurred in India alone.” The group behind the study hopes their work will raise awareness of the killer trend — and maybe encourage people to just appreciate the view. Countries following India included Pakistan (9), USA (8) and Russia (6).

Technology in the form of social media seems to have taken over our lives; and while living in a make-believe virtual world, people want to project that their life is the most happening and ‘better’ in every aspect than the others. Unfortunately, sometimes people, especially the GenX and GenY pay with their lives for a selfie. The selfie becomes a “Killfie” in a bid to get that extra ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on social media.

The Recent “Killfies”

A research shows that more people have died clicking a dangerous selfie in the year 2015 than in shark attacks around the world.

  • Three students in Mathura paid with their lives while trying to take a daring selfie in front of an approaching train.
  • A student plunged to death in a 60 feet ravine in Kolli Hills, Namakkal, Tamil Nadu, while taking a selfie on a cliff. The cliff cracked and the student paid for the selfie with his very life.
  • A Japanese student slipped down the stairs of the Taj Mahal and died while taking a selfie.
  • Seven people taking a selfie in a boat in Mangrul Lake near Nagpur died when the boat capsized.
  • In Kerala, a 14-year-old boy was electrocuted while attempting to take a selfie on top of a stationary train.
  • An Israeli man travelling on a train from Mumbai to Goa in India, fell out of the moving train and died while attempting to take a selfie.
  • Two engineering students of Wadhwan, Gujarat, drowned in Narmada Canal after slipping down the bank while taking selfies.
  • A 14-year-old boy was electrocuted while taking a selfie atop a stationary train at Nahur station yard in Mumbai.

What is a selfie?

A selfie, as we all know, is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are flattering, and just made to appear casual while they absolutely are not. And yes, photo-shopping is one of the major follow-on procedures where the photograph taken is touched and re-touched till the person taking the selfie is totally unrecognisable and resembles a celebrity. So why are people obsessed with taking selfies?

  • Our ‘image’ is very important to us and unfortunately, we define ourselves via the appraisals and opinions of others.
  • A selfie allows one to depict oneself in the way one desires. One can manipulate the picture taken through the available technology and hide the flaws and project only a perfect self.
  • To add to the above is the wish to project a happening life, and thus enters the trend of ‘Killfies’ where people take selfies in daredevil positions, often paying with their lives.

Then and Now

Gone are the times when photoshoots were an occasion in a family; the extended family got together, all dressed up, and a professional photographer came armed with a camera and a reel of 36 photographs. There were no second chances then. And we had to wait for a long week before the photographs were developed and printed, and if we were not happy with a photograph, we would have to wait for the next session to do better.

And Now? Self portraits are at the click of a button. And not just in the privacy of one’s home. Selfies are taken just about anywhere. People stop in the middle of whatever they are doing to take selfies. It could be while going out to dinner, in the car, in public transport, in the middle of a busy road, tasting wine, eating dinner, even in the washroom! All these are still harmless, but the latest trend of taking daredevil selfies is claiming lives because of sheer stupidity. It is time for the selfie crazed people to realise that it is more important to enjoy the moment by being present there without being pre-occupied with taking a selfie.

Get Over It

Technology was supposed to make life easier for the human beings. Not take over the lives of the people. A selfie every now and then is absolutely fine. But allowing oneself to get obsessed with taking selfies, so much so that we miss out on the moment, is absolutely not welcome. And to pay with one’s life for the sake of a selfie can only be described as utter idiocy. Let the selfies taken be for one’s own pleasure and not for the sake of validation from others.

It is important to educate the GenX and GenY, and create awareness among them regarding the same. It has to begin from our homes where we educate our own children regarding the perils of taking Selfies and Killfies!

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