Last updated: 02:02 PM ET, Thu September 24 2015

Astounding Report Implies Selfies More Deadly Than Shark Attacks

Features & Advice | Gabe Zaldivar | September 23, 2015

Astounding Report Implies Selfies More Deadly Than Shark Attacks

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock. Shark added digitally, obviously.

Selfies, it would seem, can be a dangerous enterprise, especially when you ignore your surroundings and decide to capture moments amid perilous circumstances.

The Internet has been flooded with a rather peculiar report recently. According to Conde Nast Traveler, selfies have taken more lives than shark attacks.

Of course, shark attacks are renowned to be a rare occurrence, but it’s still a startling factoid to see floating across the transom of the web.

We here at TravelPulse have covered various deaths that took place after a tourist decided to snap off a photo.

TravelPulse’s Patrick Clarke recently reported: “A Japanese tourist was killed after falling down a staircase at India's Taj Mahal.” The incident took place when “the man was seen taking a selfie at the mausoleum's Royal Gate when he slipped and fell.”

Mashable notes this specific death when recounting the astounding number of deaths: “The man's death raises the selfie-related death toll this year — to 12. To put that in perspective, in 2015 there have so far been eight deaths caused by shark attacks.”

Now before you head off and tweet out this number, there have been those who believe we should dig but a bit deeper into the claim.

The Washington Post’s Caitlyn Dewey makes a distinction between shark attacks and selfies that should be noted.

Dewey states: “A shark attack is a direct mechanism of death — a thing that produces actual, physical harm. A selfie, on the other hand, is what health statisticians might classify as an ‘underlying mechanism’ or an ‘intermediate mechanism,’ depending on the exact circumstances: a thing that’s involved in, and maybe precipitates, an accident, but doesn’t actually cause any physical harm. (Unless your phone electrocutes you or something, but that’s a different situation.)”

Dewey explains, “WHO (World Health Organization) gives the example of a woman tripping over something on the floor and hitting her head on the counter; you’d never say that the thing on the floor killed her — that’s just the underlying mechanism.”

As Dewey explains, a more apropos comparison might be taking selfies and “swimming in the ocean.”

Still, there are far more deaths and injuries by selfie than we think are necessary, an obvious assertion that has actually led to government officials in Russia to post warning signs.

So we can quibble over the numbers and whether comparing shark attack deaths to those caused by accidental deaths while snapping off pictures is a fair contrast.

What is very clear is that tourists around the world absolutely have to remain cognizant of their surroundings.

This means looking around and staying away from dangerous precipices or the like while capturing a moment or simply milling about the area.

No matter how you enjoy your vacation, just come back safely.


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