crime sceneYou would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t become privy to the selfie epidemic that has seized pop culture. Everyone from President Obama to Pope Francis has participated in the trend. The self-portrait photograph has become a staple of social media. With 91% of teens estimated to have posted a photo of themselves online, it's likely that your own teen or tween has contributed to the craze!

While the selfie trend is innocent enough for the most part, there are a few potential risks associated with taking selfies. Although it may seem surprising, there have been various world-wide reports of selfie-related accidents that have resulted in serious injuries or, in some cases, deaths. 

Here’s a list of people who have tragically died from accidents and events involving selfies.

    1. A couple visiting Portugal sadly fell to their deaths while trying to take a selfie with their kids on the edge of the Cabo da Roca beachside cliff. Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident, but suspect that the deaths happened directly resulting from the couple taking the selfie.

    2. After accidentally shooting himself while posing for a selfie with a gun, 21 year-old Mexican Otero Aguilar lost his life. Aguilar had allegedly been drinking with friends earlier in the night and wasn’t aware that the gun was loaded. The 21-year-old passed away before he had reached the hospital.

    3. 15-year-old Edwin lost his life after he took a photo of himself in front of a moving train. The teen slipped on the tracks and was impacted by an approaching train. The boy died while being rushed to the hospital.

    4. 32-year-old Abhilash was killed while trying to record a video of himself fake hanging. He was apparently planning to post the video on Facebook.

    5. Just the other day, 23-year-old medical student Sylwia Rajchel was attempting to hang off the edge of Spain's Puente de Trianna Bridge to take a selfie when she fell from the structure. She died from injuries sustained from the fall soon after the incident.

Many others have died or become seriously injured after being distracted while taking self-portraits. As phone distractions continue to evolve, the popularity of the “selfie” craze has only amplified these dangers. Although it may seem silly to your teen, the fact that more than a handful of people have died from selfie-related accidents warrants a discussion.

Follow these steps to get through to your teens on the matter:

  1. Inform your kids to be aware of the world around them at all times before taking pictures or texting friends

  2. Teach teens early on that selfies, social media posts, and the feedback they receive on social media should not be tied to their self-worth

  3. Although many teens know that they shouldn’t be texting or taking selfies while driving, remind them that distracted driving is a huge danger for new drivers

  4. Instruct teens to be careful about the settings and items that are featured in selfies, as predators and identity thieves can easily piece together clues about one’s personal details in photos

For more selfie safety tips, view our newly released Selfie Safety Tip Sheet.

Take a look at other potential side effects that can accompany selfies, including distracted driving accidents and lapses in self-esteem in this Selfie Safety Infographic.

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Tim Woda
Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.