A new study says the worldwide increase in mobile phone usage has led to an "exponential increase" in the number of selfie-related deaths — dubbed "selficides" — in recent years.
Researchers found that a vast majority of deaths occurred due to the victims engaging in risky behavior while attempting to take the perfect snapshot.
What are the details?
The study titled, "Selfies: A boon or bane?" was published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, and led by Dr. Agam Bansal from the India Institute of Medical Sciences. It showed that from October 2011 to November 2017, there have been 259 documented selfie deaths in 137 incidents.
But in breaking down the selficide numbers by year, the authors discovered "there has been an exponential increase in the number of selfie deaths from 2014-2015 to 2016-2017."
In 2011, three were reported; in 2013, there were only two; another 13 occurred in 2014. Then, the numbers spiked: 50 selfie deaths recorded in 2015, then 98 in 2016, and back down a bit to 93 last year.
Demographically, 72.5 percent of victims were male, and 27.5 percent were female on average. The highest number of deaths occurred in the 20-29 age range at 168 total, followed by the 10-19 age range at 128, with 34 selficides in the 30-39 age range. A handful of deaths occurred over the time period among people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, respectively.
The greatest cause of selfie death was drowning, which is how 70 victims perished. Deaths related to transport — like running in front of a moving train while trying to snap a photo — were linked to 51 cases. Falls and fire-related deaths were tied at 48 each.
Roughly half the reported deaths occurred in India, followed by Russia, the United States and Pakistan. The researchers noted that the actual number of deaths are likely much higher than their study indicates, given that the authors were limited to news reports printed in the English language.
The study recommended "no selfie zones" should be established in tourist areas in order to reduce the growing number of selficides globally, particularly around bodies of water.
On Sunday, a man had a close call when he fell into the Potomac River in Maryland while taking a selfie with rushing water behind him.
Montgomery County Fire & Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer told WJZ-TV, "Some passers-by were able to retrieve the man from the water. We believe that their actions were likely lifesaving in this case."