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Beware Of The Killer Selfie Stick

As a follow up to my blog about the perception of risk, How the Perception Of Risk Distorts Our View Of Reality, I found this little gem on Wednesday, So Sad. So Dumb. Selfies Kill More People Than Sharks. This year alone, selfie related incidents have resulted in twelve deaths versus eight deaths caused by shark attacks. Statistically it’s not the terrifying, headline grabbing events that kill us. It’s the mundane, seemingly safe, routine activities that offer the greatest odds of killing us (e.g. motor vehicle accident at 1 in 103, accidental poisoning at 1 in 119 and falling at 1 in 152). One-third of the selfie stick deaths have occurred as a result of falling (due to being distracted).

Let’s take a closer look at these selfie incidents. According to the Yahoo article,“In May of this year, a 21-year-old accidentally shot herself while posing with a gun in Moscow (she lived); and in August, a man was gored while attempting to snap himself during a bull running in Spain (he died).”

“It’s gotten so bad in Russia, where kids have been electrocuted while trying to take selfies on top of train cars, the government has launched a public-service campaign to warn young people about locations where it might not be so smart to take a photo (including on top of houses, next to oncoming trains, and in the company of wild animals).”

Apparently there is a campaign afoot to ban selfie sticks in certain public parks and recreation areas. “The safety concern has led to the banning of selfie sticks at numerous tourist attractions around the world, including museums, music festivals, zoos, Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, even Comic-Con and Disney parks.”

Are selfie sticks really dangerous or are they just an annoyance?

Here's the thing: running with bulls, doing anything on top of a house, standing next to oncoming trains and engaging with wild animals is risky with or without taking a selfie.

I would offer that selfie sticks are no more dangerous than any other distraction. Texting while driving is a much more risky endeavor. In fact, “texting while driving is now the leading cause of death among teenagers… more than 3,000 teens die each year in crashes caused by texting while driving.”

So, enjoy your selfies, but for goodness sake don’t take one on a ladder (or while driving or taking your medication). You won't like the odds.


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