Selfie madness: Too many dying to get the picture

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
College Offering Classes for 'Selfies'


The rise of selfie photography in some of the world's most beautiful, and dangerous, places is sparking a range of interventions aimed at combating risk-taking that has resulted in a string of gruesome deaths worldwide.

The act of taking a picture of oneself with a mobile phone, placing the subject center-stage, has exploded in popularity in recent years, with everyone from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to U.S. President Barack Obama joining in.

But the selfie has also inspired a spate of risk taking and offensive public behavior, pushing the boundaries of safety and decorum, whether by dangling from a skyscraper or posing with live explosives.

Several governments and regulatory bodies have now begun treating the selfie as a serious threat to public safety, leading them to launch public education campaigns reminiscent of those against smoking and binge drinking.

Dozens of grisly selfie-related deaths and injuries in early 2015 led Russia's Interior Ministry to launch a campaign warning avid mobile phone snappers about the danger of, among other things, posing for a selfie with a lion.

See photos of people taking questionable selfies:

17 PHOTOS
People taking questionable selfies
See Gallery
Selfie madness: Too many dying to get the picture
Tourists take a 'selfie' picture as demonstrators burn a trash container during a May Day rally in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 1, 2014. Tens of thousands of workers marked May Day in European cities with a mix of anger and gloom over austerity measures imposed by leaders trying to contain the eurozone's intractable debt crisis. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
A protestor makes a selfie in front of a burning car during a national trade union demonstration in Brussels, Thursday Nov. 6, 2014. Tens of thousands of demonstrators are converging on the Belgian capital to protest government policies that will extend the pension age, contain wages and cut into public services. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Darius Crenshaw, left, and his sister Keona, both of Ferguson, Mo., take a selfie while standing in front of a burned down beauty salon from last night's riots, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Overnight protests following a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown were far more destructive than any of those that followed Brown's Aug. 9 death, with more than a dozen businesses badly damaged or destroyed. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 6: Protestors take a selfie in front of burning police motorbike in Brussels, on November 6, 2014. Belgians protest government's policies that will extend the pension age, contain wages and cut into public services. (Photo by Mehmet Kaman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 22: A Chinese man takes a selfie in a snow covered Tiananmen Square during a snowfall on November 22, 2014 in Beijing, China. China's capital and other parts of northern China had its second snowfall of the year Sunday. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
ANKARA, TURKEY - 2015/03/22: Two men take a selfie with the traditional bonfire, at Newroz celebration rally. (Photo by Piero Castellano/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Palestinian protesters take a selfie after a march against Palestinian land confiscation to expand the nearby Jewish Hallamish settlement on August 28, 2015 in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah. AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI (Photo credit should read ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 09: A demonstrator, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, stops to take a selfie while protesting along West Florrisant Street on August 9, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. There are reports that two people were shot when gun fire broke out during protests later in the evening. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black suspects. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 22: A member of the press takes a 'selfie' with Thai army soldiers standing guard at the grounds of the venue for peace talks between pro- and anti-government groups on May 22, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army chief announced in an address to the nation that the armed forces were seizing power amid reports that leaders of the opposing groups attending the talks were being detained by the military. Thailand has seen months of political unrest and violence which has claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
A participant of the Mrs Universe 2015 contest takes a selfie picture as she stands close to a 360 ton payload BelAZ mining dump truck at the BelAZ plant in Zhodino, outside Minsk, on August 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI GAPON (Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images)
HUNSTANTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: A man takes a selfie next to a dead sperm that stranded itself on a beach between Old Hunstanton and Holme on February 5, 2016 in Hunstanton, England. The whale is currently the 29th to get stranded in Europe in the past two weeks and due to its weight of between 25 and 30 tonnes was unable to be rescued. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Tourists take a selfie during a desert safari trip in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on November 4, 2015. Britain temporarily suspended flights from Sharm El-Sheikh as it was concerned a Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt may have been downed by a bomb, while the Islamic State group insisted it caused the disaster. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Runners take a selfie during the 'The Color Run Night' in Stockholm on September 11, 2015. The Color Run founder, Travis Snyder, was inspired by the Indian Holi Festival, and decided to combine the idea with a 5km running experience. From the first event in the United States in January 2012 The Color Run has since spread across the globe leaving a trail of color and happy runners. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
VAN, TURKEY - DECEMBER 25: A man takes a selfie as water sprayed meters into the air, freezing to form icicles after the freezing cold in the neighborhood of Muradiye led to the explosion of a water pipeline at the Sarimehmet Dam in Van, Turkey on December 25, 2015. (Photo by Necat Hasar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Kuwaiti man takes a selfie with a falcon during a training session in al-Salmi district, 120 kms west of Kuwait City, on December 19, 2015 in preparation for a falconry competition. / AFP / YASSER AL-ZAYYAT (Photo credit should read YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 5: Tourists enjoy sticking wads of gum to surrounding walls and taking selfies at Seattle's famed 'Gum Wall' on November 5, 2015, in Seattle, Washington. Located in an alley below Pike Place Market, the gum wall will be steam cleaned next week after accumulating 20 years of chewing gum. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

In June, two men in the Ural Mountains died after posing pulling the pin from a hand grenade; in May a woman survived shooting herself in the head in her Moscow office; a month later a 21-year-old university graduate plunged 40 feet (12 meters) to her death while posing hanging from a Moscow bridge.

"A cool selfie could cost you your life," reads a poster from the campaign, which includes safety videos and information booklets.

Despite Russia's diplomatic isolation over its support for separatist rebels in Ukraine, on the issue of dangerous selfies the Kremlin finds itself in accord with the European Union and the United States.

In Texas on Wednesday, a 19-year-old father of two died after shooting himself in the neck during a selfie. In Yellowstone National Park exasperated officials issued warnings after five separate selfie takers were gored this summer while standing too near bison.

The European Union in June proposed a law to criminalize social media posts containing pictures of landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Rome's Trevi Fountain. And inIndia this week officials said they were implementing a "no selfie zone" at the Hindu Kumbh Mela festival over fears they may cause stampedes.

ALL ABOUT ME

Yet despite the risks, selfies are more popular than ever, according to data from GoogleTrends. Searches for the term were up eight times in 2014 over the previous year, leading the Internet search giant to dub it "The Year of the Selfie".

Selfies tend to attract a type of person already more likely to push the boundaries of normal behavior, says Jesse Fox, an assistant professor of communications at Ohio State University.

Her research says people exhibiting the so-called Dark Triad of personality traits - narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy - are likely to pursue selfie glory regardless of who gets hurt in the process.

"It's all about me. It's putting me in the frame. I'm getting attention and when I post that to social media, I'm getting the confirmation that I need from other people that I'm awesome," Fox told Reuters.

"You don't care about the tourist attraction you're destroying; you don't care about annoying people in your social media feed ... you're not even thinking about the consequences of your actions, so who cares if you're dangling off the side of the Eiffel Tower?"

That has not stopped some countries trying to capitalize on the trend's popularity.

Tourism Australia this week launched a campaign promising an opportunity to take the "World's Largest Selfie", aimed at selfie-mad Japan.

They have installed several so-called GigaSelfie platforms in some of the country's most breathtaking environs from which, with an associated app, visitors can capture an ultra hi-resolution shot taken by a far away camera.

More on AOL.com:
Aunt had tried to sponsor family who drowned off Turkey
Report: Most immigrant households rely on public assistance
Today in History: 20th anniversary of eBay

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners