Selfies and scholarship have finally intersected. And it was not good news for India.
The country has had far more selfie-related deaths than any other country in the world in the last two years. That's the findings from a new study by scholars from Carnegie Mellon University and Indraprastha Institute of Information Delhi.
The analysis — provocatively titled “Me, Myself and My Killfie: Characterizing and Preventing Selfie Deaths" — found that of 127 reported selfie deaths from March 2014 to September,"a whopping 76 deaths occurred in India alone!”
In a blog detailing the study, it said Pakistan had nine deaths, the United States eight and Russia six over the past two years.
In 2015 alone, Indians taking selfies died while posing in front of an oncoming train, in a boat that tipped over at a picnic, on a cliff that gave way and crumbled into a 60-foot ravine and on the slippery edge of a scenic river canal. Also, a Japanese tourist trying to take a selfie fell down steps at the Taj Mahal, suffering fatal head injuries.
Researchers analyzed thousands of selfies posted on Twitter and found that men were far more likely than women to take dangerous selfies. It found 13 percent were taken in what could be dangerous circumstances, and the majority of victims were under the age of 24.
The most common cause of death worldwide was “falling off a building or mountain,” which was responsible for 29 deaths. The second most second-most common being hit by a train, responsible for 11 deaths.
“This trend caters to the belief that posting on or next to train tracks with their best friend is regarded as romantic and a sign of never- ending friendship,” the study noted.
Most of the Indian deaths were water-related.
The authors hope the study will serve as a warning of the hazards and inspire new mobile phone technology that can warn photo-takers if they are in a danger zone.
Officials in India in recent months have tried to take steps to address this new public safety phenomenon. The country's tourism minister has asked state governments to develop “no-selfie zones” at tourist attractions around the country — including more than a dozen in Mumbai tourist areas after two people drowned while being swept out into the Arabian Sea while posing for selfies.
Last year, no-selfie zones were also established in certain areas of the massive Hindu religious gathering called the Kumbh Mela because organizers feared bottlenecks caused by selfie-takers could spark stampedes.