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Selfie deaths have become way too common. Here's how people are trying to prevent them.


What would you do for the perfect selfie? Many of us are probably guilty of taking upwards of 25 pictures in search of the best angle or using Snapchat filters to hide what we really look like behind the dog face. But some people are going to extremes and taking risks to make sure that their selfies stand out.

In the past few years, the number of deaths associated with selfies has been on the rise. The Wikipedia page on selfie deaths already lists three separate incidents in 2017, less than two weeks into the new year.

We're living in a time when we perceive our social media accounts to have an incredibly high level of importance. After all, so many of our followers know us only from the content that we post to our pages. We want to impress old acquaintances from high school. We want to attract new relationships. We see the potential to turn our profiles into money-making opportunities.

There have been several efforts lately to reduce the number of deaths and injuries resulting from risky pictures, but still, the draw remains to capture that perfect selfie.

Risk takers can gain an immense following on social media for their dangerous selfies.

Researchers are developing an app that will prevent "killfies."

In November, a study investigating selfie deaths, nicknamed "killfies," made waves in the media with its comprehensive dataset on the phenomenon.

Researchers looked at a total of 127 incidents from the past two years, identifying the highest risks and the countries where the most deaths occur. They found risks associated with high elevations, bodies of water, trains, and roads. India had the most casualties, followed by Pakistan and the USA.

The data from the study demonstrated that identifiable patterns exist when it comes life-threatening selfie conditions. These patterns could be used to save lives.

Based on their findings, the researchers are developing an app integrated into a smartphone camera that will recognize potentially dangerous circumstances and alert the user. In some cases, the app may temporarily shut down the phone. The app will use clues from a combination of image-based, text-based, and location-based features to determine when a user is in an unsafe situation.

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs launched a "safe selfie" campaign.

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is urging people to remember that their lives are more important than social media likes with a poster campaign. The posters show a variety of dangerous selfie situations acted out by cartoon figures, from selfies with a gun, selfies with a wild animal, and selfies on a motorcycle.

The posters also warn against the risks associated with selfie sticks, like using one during a storm.

There are "no selfie" zones in Mumbai.

As demonstrated in the "killfie" study, many of the world's selfie deaths occur in India. In February, Mumbai created 16 "no selfie" zones in the city in attempt to counter this disturbing trend. 

Following a selfie-related drowning, the city's police conducted a survey to determine the most dangerous selfie locations. Many of the off-limit areas are along the coastline, where there is a high risk of drowning. Signs in the areas warn of the dangers.

And other places in India are imposing selfie bans, too.

A student at Kherva Ganpat University in Mehsana, India fell 70 feet to her death after climbing on a fragile glass dome during a selfie attempt. The university responded to the incident by banning selfies in risky spots on the campus, hoping that the ban would prevent any future accidents. 

And at the Ahmedabad railway station, any person who tries to take selfies on empty train tracks or in close proximity to a running train can face jail time if caught.

A Twitter account is reminding people to selfie responsibly.

#SelfieToDieFor is a movement to educate people about the hazards associated with selfies.

Their website asks visitors to sign a pledge to always selfie responsibly. "After all, you need to be around to count the huge number of likes on your selfie post, don't you?" the website reads.

And on Twitter, they tweet constant examples of how to stay safe while taking selfies, like not taking one with firecrackers or while driving.

The account encourages both frequent selfies and responsible behavior.

New York passed a bill to limit selfies with tigers.

There are so many selfies with tigers on dating apps that people started several Tumblr accounts to document all of them. But in 2015, New York State passed a law to ban contact with big cats in captivity. 

While the law exists partly to protect the mistreated and often drugged cats, it also aims to protect animal caretakers and guests from what are still wild animals. A statement described the potential for the big cat photo ops to lead to serious injury or death. 

Lake Tahoe wants visitors to stop taking selfies with bears.

While most people would be nervous to see a bear in the wild, some just see the animal as the perfect selfie opportunity. The U.S. Forest Service had to issue a statement in 2014 to warn against interactions with bears at Taylor Creek in Lake Tahoe.

“Bears are unpredictable, wild animals and may attack if threatened,” said Forest Supervisor Nancy Gibson. “People are risking serious injury or death if they get too close to a bear.”

The hashtag #bearselfie probably shouldn't even be a thing.

And selfies are banned during the running of the bulls in Pamplona.

The running of the bulls is both a popular and dangerous tradition in Spain. While the activity is dangerous on its own, the risk increases when participants try to take photos and videos during it.

In order to prevent deaths associated with selfies during the event, there are high fines in place for anyone caught using their phone or a similar device. You can be fined up to €3,000 in Pamplona for shooting video while running.

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