Let’s face it: People do stupid things. All the time. Even the most intelligent are not immune to idiocy, and common sense is not a prerequisite for a high IQ. So there is a plentiful supply of people who think it is a good idea to put themselves into a highly dangerous situation for the sake of a photographic memento to share on social media.
This is highlighted by a recent piece from Mashable that tallied up the number of selfie-related deaths so far this year, which surpassed double figures and now stands at 12. And we’re not just talking about fatal trips and falls here – there have been some pretty grim and gobsmackingly daft acts. One man was mangled in Spain after trying to snap a pic during a bull run, and two Russian men met their demise while photographing themselves with a live grenade. A woman even managed to shoot herself in the head while posing with a gun.
To put that figure into perspective, Mashable compared it with the number of shark deaths recorded during the same period: eight. Yes, two-thirds as many have died from shark attacks. But let’s get one thing straight: That in no way means that selfies are more dangerous than sharks. They are completely different. Far more people die in their sleep each year, but that doesn’t mean that beds are more dangerous than sharks. Thousands of people even manage to sustain toilet-related injuries annually, but you can’t compare a toilet to a shark, that’s absurd. In order to make meaningful comparisons you need to take into account things like how many people are exposed to either situation.
People were putting themselves in silly situations and posing ridiculously for peers long before selfie sticks were invented. Social media is plagued by these images, but they are more of an annoyance than a danger. People take them all the time, there is just a need to practice basic common sense, like not putting yourself at risk for a photograph.