Self­ies more lethal than sharks

Lesotho Times - - Health -

NEW YORK — With all of the news re­gard­ing shark at­tacks these past months, one may as­sume that the num­ber of re­cent deaths from shark bites would be on the high side. While it’s been doc­u­mented that eight peo­ple lost their lives this year due to sharks, Sci­enceal­ert is re­port­ing that more peo­ple world­wide — at least 12 — have passed away this year due to a selfie-re­lated in­ci­dent.

In other words, self­ies are killing more peo­ple than sharks.

The latest death by selfie vic­tim was a 66-year-old Ja­panese tourist who slipped down the steps at Taj Ma­hal’s Royal Gate in In­dia. Other selfie fa­tal­i­ties in­clude the pic­ture taker fall­ing off a cliff, crash­ing their car, be­ing run over by a train, or ac­ci­den­tally shoot­ing them­selves.

So what ex­actly is go­ing on here? “Part of what hap­pens when a per­son gets fo­cused and self-ab­sorbed in some­thing — whether it’s their per­sonal prob­lems, a cri­sis at work or even tak­ing a selfie — they be­come so im­mersed to the point where they get dis­tracted and ig­nore al­most ev­ery­thing else that’s around them,” Stacy Kaiser, li­censed psy­chother­a­pist, re­la­tion­ship ex­pert and ed­i­torat-large for Live Happy, tells Ya­hoo Health. “And in the case of self­ies, peo­ple are dy­ing be­cause they’re not see­ing that cliff or notic­ing the car that is about to hit them.”

In some sit­u­a­tions, Kaiser be­lieves that tak­ing self­ies, in its sim­plest form, can be viewed as fun and trendy. “But on a deeper level, there’s a nar­cis­sis­tic el­e­ment,” she states. “It’s a way of say­ing, ‘Look at me! Look how great I look! Look where I am! Ev­ery­one needs to see it and know about it!’ It’s at­ten­tion seek­ing be­hav­ior. There has ac­tu­ally been re­search about the more nar­cis­sis­tic you are, the more self­ies you take.”

(The study Kaiser refers to was pub­lished in Jan­uary 2015 by Ohio State Univer­sity, which found that men who posted more photos of them­selves on so­cial media scored higher on mea­sures of nar­cis­sism and psy­chopa­thy.)

Kaiser adds that selfie-lovers may feel that tak­ing and shar­ing their “me” shots — es­pe­cially the mun­dane ones, such as sit­ting in traf­fic, stand­ing in line to buy sham­poo — gives them a sense of im­por­tance. “There’s also this no­tion that if a celebrity takes a selfie in their car, then I can be just like them,” she ex­plains. “And we know that peo­ple or­der the same cof­fee celebri­ties drink, they buy the same purses, so there is this phe­nom­e­non of ‘I want to be like you, so I will act like you.’”

As for the selfie craze, Kaiser doesn’t see it fad­ing any time in the near fu­ture. “I think this trend is step­ping up,” she says. “It used to be that is was the younger gen­er­a­tion do­ing it, but now the older gen­er­a­tion is do­ing it, the el­derly are even do­ing it. It’s spread­ing and be­com­ing even more part of what is con­sid­ered so­cially ac­cept­able.” Just be care­ful out there. — Ya­hoo Health

MORE peo­ple died from tak­ing self­ies this year than they did from shark at­tacks.

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