THE BLOG
07/10/2015 05:23 BST | Updated 06/10/2016 06:12 BST

The Deadly Art of the Selfie: How the Front Camera Became a Serial Killer

Oh, the things people do for self-love.

If there's one thing I'm evidently missing in my life, it's a photo of me smiling whilst clinging to a precarious rock face by my fingertips, or leaning over the edge of a tall building, or maybe even cosying up to a pack of wild tigers in their den during birthing season, plastered all across my social media profiles.

Just think how many hearts it'll pick up on Instagram, how many likes on Facebook, maybe even a few retweets...Just imagine how cool I'll look, how edgy and daredevil. My followers will revere me. I'll be a superhero! Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Or maybe I could just, you know, stick to not doing that.

Believe it or not, this genuinely seems to be a thought process that many young people are going through at present - the willingness to put even their lives in danger to claim the prize of gnarliest picture. A quite fascinating statistic cropped up recently: globally, more people have died taking selfies this year (fourteen) than have been killed during shark attacks (eight). And that death count continues to rise.

A popular Instagram feed belonging to the handle @drewsssik is peppered with photos of a Russian teenager posing on high rooftops and dangerous girders. Unfortunately there won't be any more such photos on the way, as the boy died a fortnight ago whilst attempting to add to his collection. He was only 17. What a horrific waste of a life.

Other cases so far this year include excessively eager snappers involved in fatal car crashes, electrocuting themselves on top of trains, toppling from bridges and one young man from Mexico who shot himself in the head in September. All in the name of the selfie.

The Russian government has gone as far as to issue a guideline booklet, precisely to educate people on the perils of taking photos in dangerous situations. How long before our own Foreign Office is compelled to follow suit?

Whenever a story of this ilk strikes social media, the comments underneath always seem to be the same, and echo my own first reactions: 'How could they had so little concern for their own safety?'

Yet if we look a little deeper, it's interesting to try and unpick the potential psychology behind young people making these rash decisions for Facebook fame. It's no longer just about vanity and getting attention from friends online, it's a validation-craving superiority thing, rooted in the search for selfie nirvana.

It is a toxic, spiraling, approval-driven pursuit of the most 'likes' that many young people are involved in. There is a general tendency to advertise yourself as a risk-taker and adrenaline junkie when really, it's all just for show.

How am I going to get the most attention, when I'm competing with a thousand other stimuli on my friends news feeds? By doing something risky, and getting the evidence to prove it. It's the same principle as was highlighted by those NHS drinking safety adverts with the man who thinks he's Superman by impressing his friends, but ultimately falls to his death.

Except this time, and more concerningly, young people are making these decisions stone cold sober. It's a dangerous game to being playing.

I remember a time when we all thought selfies were just a bit naff. So ingrained have they become in everyday parlance and culture that it's hard to believe they've only really been this popular for roughly three years.

People raised their eyebrows when the word snuck into the Oxford English Dictionary in late 2013. The thought of anyone at all having 'killed taking selfie' featuring on their death certificate was quite ridiculous, or that the ever-exasperating selfie stick could be such an instrument of demise. What sort of a way is that to go?

So I think I'll stick to posting the odd front camera picture at a football match or at a friend's party, and leave it at that. And as a word of warning to anyone contemplating putting their health at risk for the adulation of social media: think twice before you selfie. It will never be worth your life.