NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — What would you risk to snap the perfect selfie? A new study shows thousands of people are risking their lives, and hundreds have paid the ultimate price for vanity.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore did little digging into the most dangerous kinds of selfies and asked the experts why some people are willing to take the risk.
Some of the most dangerous selfies ever taken include people posing in front of great white sharks, dangling on top of construction cranes and throwing themselves off buildings or waterfalls.
“It’s risky, but you get a good picture from it, so!” tourist Rick Eppels said.
“I think one moment of fame is what they wanna do, yep!” tourist Stacey Santiago added.
Last year, a California woman nearly died when she fell 60 feet taking a selfie on top of a bridge.
“They were taking a picture on the bridge and then the big bolts that were holding the beams together … she like stepped on them weirdly and lost balance and fell backwards,” said Paul Goncharuk, the victim’s friend.
She was lucky, but many people aren’t. According to a new study in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 259 people have died taking selfies over the past six years, with the most likely causes drowning, transportation — like taking selfies in front of oncoming trains — and falling from heights.
Most of the victims were between 20 and 29 years old and more than 70 percent were men.
“It’s not surprising that people are seeking bigger and better and wilder experiences to photograph themselves in,” said Madison Malone-Kircher, a tech reporter for New York Magazine.
Tech experts say with platforms like Facebook and Instagram so pervasive in our lives, a “regular selfie” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
“If you and I take that selfie on the top of, I don’t know, the Eiffel Tower, hanging from it, that’s going to get a lot more likes, right? And that is going to trigger this response in me, ‘What can I do next?” Well, we’ll even more likes,” Malone-Kircher said.
And then there’s the “anything you can do I can do better” mentality.
“You see people doing this and you think, ‘Oh, I can do it, too. I’ll be fine,'” Malone-Kircher said. “Many of these deaths are people just standing at the edge of cliffs or waterfalls on vacation at national parks. So I think if it’s the kind of photo you’d be concerned if someone was taking of you you should be doubly concerned if you now have one hand in the air.”
That’s wise advice to ensure that “selfie smile” doesn’t turn into a serious or even deadly situation.
India has highest rate of selfie deaths, along with Russia, the U.S. and Pakistan.
On Wednesday, the NYPD told CBS2 it hasn’t seen much of a spike in selfie-related accidents or rescue calls.