With Christmas festivities approaching rapidly, who isn't excited for their jeans to feel a bit plumper and their buttons to pop after three rounds of Christmas pudding and the excessive leftovers? Forget spin cycle sessions and trampolining classes to shed those unwanted pounds, your new sport is here. This "high adrenaline sport" is the most extreme of extremes. It will get your blood pumping aggressively, your brain spinning and most of all, your phone buzzing with the influx of Instagram likes you'll receive. Yes, that's right. It turns out that going to paramount lengths to take an "extreme selfie" is the latest craze and cause of death.
Who would have thought that the innocent front facing camera of your phone would be considered a serial killer? With our increasingly selfie-obsessed generation, the number of people who have died as a result of taking a selfie in dangerous places is on the rise. Among those who have died for social media are famous Instagram user, Drewsssik, who was renown for his pictures on high structures, who died in 2015 after a dramatic fall from a building and a 12-year old Russian girl who died in October this year in an attempt to climb balcony railings for a 'cool selfie'.
A study led by PhD student Hemank Lamba and his friends at Carnegie Mellon University indicated that there have been 127 deaths by selfie since 2014. India received the most selfie deaths (76), attributed to the craze of taking photos with trains which Hemank and his team stated was due to "the belief that posing on or next to train tracks with their best friend is regarded as romantic and a sign of never-ending friendship." Albeit it could potentially look like a small number, when considered in its context, dying by selfie is something that could be completely avoided. Whilst a towering cliff could complement your beaming smile and golden tan and make your pictures last on your Facebook News Feed that little bit longer, I'm sure the general consensus it that a life is more important than a like.
Luckily, these researchers are creating an app to tackle the 'selfie death' issue which will warn daredevil selfie lovers of their limitations. The app intends to ascertain the hazardous selfie points, from ridiculously high mountaintops to train tracks and inform the selfie-taker that this could put their life at risk.
By using a person's location services in conjunction with parts of the selfie image to determine whether it is too 'dangerous', this certainly sounds easier said than done. The app has promising success, with a 70% success rate at determining dangerous locations when the team tested their algorithm on 3,000 selfies.
However, a sonorous and vivid alert could make the level of danger worse by scaring the selfie-taker. Whether or not the alert increases danger is another question and would need to be tested (hopefully not with real high mountaintops).
Whilst the app is being developed and you're busy editing your selfies for your next Instagram post, don't forget to be careful in your surroundings. Be wise kids and don't risk your life for a like.