With so many Instagram-worthy destinations around the world, travelers often have their smartphones out to capture the photogenic landscape as well as themselves in it. While selfies may seem like the most harmless thing in the world, a recent study has found that at least 259 people around the world have died while taking selfies.
The study, published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, was conducted by researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and at news reports of selfie deaths and incidents from October 2011 to November 2017. It found that 259 people died while taking a selfie in 137 separate incidents. The country with the highest number of selfie deaths and incidents was India, which made up about half of the reported total, followed by Russia, the United States, and Pakistan.
The most common ways people died while taking selfies was drowning, “transport” (for example, getting hit by a vehicle while taking a selfie), and falls. According to the report, 72.5 percent of the people who died were male, as opposed to 27.5 percent female. Young people are particularly prone, with the study reporting that the average age was 22.94 years. The study also found that risky behavior caused more deaths and incidents involving selfies than non-risky behavior, so perhaps it’s best to avoid taking photos while taking part in activities such as rock climbing or bungee jumping in more adventurous destinations.
Noting that authorities don't list selfies as an official cause of death, the report suggests that selfie deaths are underreported, and so the number may very likely be higher. The researchers suggest more “no selfie zones” or safe selfie spots in areas where there are picture-perfect backdrops that tempt tourists, but the best safety tip may be to put away your camera entirely, especially when you’re in one of the most dangerous selfie spots in the world.