TOLEDO, Ohio. How much is that perfect selfie worth? Is it worth your life? According to the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, between October 2011 and November 2017, there have been 259 deaths due to people taking dangerous selfies. While all people are at risk of injury when they take photos in dangerous situations, teens and youths were identified as being most at risk of getting killed or injured while taking selfies. Are youths endangering themselves and others with this dangerous pastime? How worried should we be?
Many of the selfie deaths are attributable to people taking photos by the edges of cliffs or by getting too close to wildlife. Researchers found that the top causes of death while taking selfies occurred when people either drowned, were hit by a vehicle, or fell to their deaths. Huffington Post recently posted an article about the “8 Selfies You Must Absolutely, Positively Never Take.” Right up there with funeral selfies are driving selfies. Taking a selfie while driving is quite possibly worse than texting while driving, and easily just as dangerous. Not only is this selfie in terrible taste, it also is surefire evidence that you engage in texting and driving and distracted driving behavior. If you ever find yourself in a car accident where someone else was hurt or killed, a personal injury lawyer would have excellent evidence that you engage in distracted driving thanks to your car selfie.
Vice reports that some areas are designating sensitive and dangerous sites “no selfie zones.” Researchers who study dangerous selfie-taking behavior have noted that “no selfie zones” should include mountain or cliff side lookouts and areas by waterfalls or dangerous bodies of water. But do we really need “no selfie zones”? Have we really lost all common sense when it comes to using our phones safely? Research shows that it might have less to do with common sense and more to do with a hardwired urge to connect that drives people to take dangerous selfies.
According to Salon, when people take dangerous selfies, their brains are flooded with dopamine. This feel-good chemical encourages risk-taking behavior. The more risks a person takes, the less reward the brain will experience, which drives people to sometimes take increasing risks to get the same reward. It works a little like addiction. While many people are able to rationally consider the risks and benefits and stop before they put themselves in a situation that will be too dangerous, younger individuals and teens may not have the same ability to put on the brakes.
Dangerous or risky selfies might be more likely to get us attention on social media. The brain is hard-wired to push us to connect with others. While social media is no replacement for social connection, our brain chemistry doesn’t know the difference.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the personal injury risks of a deadly selfie? First, talk to your teens and adolescents about dangerous cell phone use. Texting and driving should never be permitted and any type of cell phone use in the car should be banned. Most cell phones now come with software that allows you to temporarily disable your phone while driving. Secondly, set a good example for your children and others around you and practice safe phone habits. Put the phone away while driving and don’t take selfies in dangerous situations. Finally, listen to your body’s warning signals when taking photos. While on vacation, the urge to get a dramatic photo might be high, but if your body’s alarm system is sending all sorts of red flags, you might want to put aside the phone for a second and consider what you’re doing.
Victims of dangerous phone behavior behind the wheel have rights. If you or a loved one was hurt due to the actions of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to seek damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. The Schuller Law Office is a personal injury lawyer in Toledo, Ohio who works with families whose lives have been affected by negligent actions. Our firm works tirelessly to protect victims’ rights. Reach out to us at https://schullerlaw.net/ to learn more.
 

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