Scientists Work On App To Prevent “Death By Selfies”

by Myla Cruz

Believe it or not, it’s relatively common for people to get injured and die taking selfies, an unexpected trend that challenges the health and wellbeing of smartphone-users. Taking a picture of yourself may seem to some as an insignificant feat, but the act of taking selfies can bring about a positive change like boosting your confidence. Bringing danger to this seemingly harmless act is a bit dumbfounding, and also sad. 

Good news, though—there’s a team of people who are working on new technology to help prevent people from trying for selfies that threaten their wellbeing. 

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"We found that most common reason of selfie death was height-related. These involve people falling off buildings or mountains while trying to take dangerous selfies," explains researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi in a report published in the open-access scholarly website, ArXiv.

The analysis was quite bluntly titled “Me, Myself and My Killfie: Characterizing and Preventing Selfie Deaths.” It found that a total of 127 reported selfie deaths had occurred around the world between March 2014 to September, 2016.  

Ponnurangam Kumaraguru of the Indraprastha Institute (who also studied computer science at Carnegie Mellon) said he and the team noticed the unfortunate trend of “death by selfies” popping up in new reporting, so they decided to use data mining techniques to create an app that could help. 

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Kumaraguru and his team are currently working to develop software that could warn users they are in a dangerous place or even turn the camera function off if it looks risky.

"It could help users make better decisions," explained Kumaraguru. The team is currently gathering information on places where actual selfie deaths have occurred, and using it to create algorithms that expose risk.

"We believe that the study can inspire and provide footprints for technologies, which can stop users from clicking dangerous selfies, and thus preventing more of such casualties," they further explained in the analysis. 

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So, the emotional boost of a selfie can be healthy. Traveling to new places, climbing mountains and skyscrapers can be spiritually and physically rewarding. However, combining these positive experiences will never be worth risking your life. Even if it takes an app, it’s worth being mindful of yourself, and selfies. 

We love to hear your stories. Ever taken a selfie you probably shouldn’t have? Share with us in the comment section below!

WATCH on Z Living:
 Change The Day You Die, where each week, one lucky person will get the chance to rewrite their future and start living a much healthier life. See a sneak peek here.


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