Katherine Heigl selfies in a cemetary
Image Credit:

Between October 2011 and November 2017, at least 259 people died taking selfies around the world, according to India’s Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, compared with just 50 people killed by sharks in the same period. Gulf News readers discuss why people are so obessed with taking them.

Death by selfie

Authorities needs to impose rules

An average of 43 people per year have died while taking selfies since 2011, and this is on the rise as you read this. The selfie culture itself isn’t harmful, but the human behaviour that accompanies selfies is. We all know a friend on social media who constantly posts selfies. Not just any selfies, but peculiar ones that really make you question how? The desire of being cool, posting photos on social media and getting rewarded in the form of likes and comments has unfortunately ended in tragedies.

As an educator, there is only so much I can do to inform my students of the dangerous involved. But they are controllers of their own actions. The solution is not simply educating people to become more aware of the risks that are involved but there is a crucial need for officials to implement strict actions as declaring spots as risky areas and beyond which taking selfies should be prohibited. After all, you get one chance at life - is risking it for a selfie worth it?

From Ms Mahnoor Malik

Primary school teacher based in Dubai

Social media to blame

People want to keep up with latest trends

The selfie phenomenon is wildly popularised among people of my age (generation Z) and subsequent to last week’s selfie accident in Sheikh Zayed Road, it is time to discuss the rage over selfies and the harm inflicted.

In essence it is merely a photograph that social media has undoubtedly amplified the effect of. Where it boosts self-confidence and brings people who share special moments together, it also draws out narcissism present in every person. As a result, the need to boast about current activities grows with every like and as fast paced trends are, those who give social media high regard are pressured to keep up with this superficial perfection.

Due to the competitive race to have one’s life online looking perfect, it is expected to feel frustrated when unable to project an ordinary life as envy worthy, especially if based in a city known for luxury such as Dubai. This is why I believe that the need to push boundaries to gain followers appreciation could be life threatening if not paired with off screen moments and grounding factors, especially now that selfie obsession is almost a mental disorder.

From Ms Sarra Hamed

Dubai based student

Common sense

People need to think of the consequences

It is almost astonishing how people are placing so much importance in getting the most like-worthy selfies. Sometimes on the way to that goal, they forget the impact that they may have. I have seen people take selfies at graveyards and memorials. This can be highly insensitive but the need to show that we have visited a certain spot seems to triumph our common sense. Another extreme is when people have been badly injured or died due to selfie stunts.

The phenomenon of taking selfies is relatively new and it is only get fuelled by the rise of social media platforms that are picture based.

I think at some point our obsession for selfies will die down or at least decrease but until that point we need to come to our senses and start living in the real world, where silly decisions can have dire consequences. A selfie taken at a dangerous location can cause harm to the person or an insensitive picture can offend many.

From Mohammad Osama Ahmad

Transportation and city planner based in Dubai

Poll results

Are people going too far to take selfies?

Yes: 74%

No: 26%

Have your say

Have you seen someone endanger their life for a selfie?