Selfies Jump the Shark

What’s more dangerous: sharks or taking pictures of yourself?

Now, you might think that those seemingly ferocious feeding machines Discovery Channel spends a week chronicling each summer is the easy answer. But you’d be wrong. It turns out that sharks have killed fewer people so far in 2015 than selfies have. That’s right: Taking a picture of yourself might statistically be more dangerous than swimming with Jaws.

On Sept. 16, Conde Nast Traveler reported that 11 people had died this year while trying to snap selfies; shortly thereafter, a 12th unfortunate selfie victim fell down a flight of stairs at the Taj Mahal in India and later died of the injuries he sustained.

Meanwhile, the travel magazine reports that eight people have been killed in shark attacks in 2015. The editors got that statistic from the Shark Attack Survivors archives. But George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History, says two of those attacks are actually suspect.

If we take out those two suspect shark deaths, that means folks were twice as likely to die shooting selfies this year as they were to be killed by fearsome ocean predators.

Some of those dozen selfie accidents involved tragic falls. Others, however, involved admittedly more dangerous things. Three deaths involved selfies near or on train tracks; two (in Russia) involved men trying to take a picture of themselves with a hand grenade; and two involved gun accidents.

In other words, if you’re going to do something inherently dangerous, like, say, playing with a grenade or standing on a sheer cliff or climbing on top of a moving train, it’s probably best to just cherish the moment and resist the urge to pull out your smartphone.

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

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