selfie cliff

Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you. 
Proverbs 2:11

 SRT is a new acronym which burst on the scene after smartphones became ubiquitous.  SRT stands for Selfie Related Trauma.  Smartphones have proliferated since 2007. One feature is the ability to take what is now called a “selfie”, or a picture of the phone user with others.

The next generation is a fan of selfies – non-stop pictures with their image along with a friend or a special place in the background.  They usually portray a happy scene, even though research shows that the next generation has more depression and suicide than prior generations.

SRT occurs when someone takes a selfie in a dangerous spot and gets hurt. Recently, a millennial lady climbed across two barriers in a zoo to take a picture with a jaguar. The jaguar attacked and mauled her. Fortunately, the injuries were not life threatening.

SRT is now being tracked statistically.  There have been 259 deaths since 2011.  The leading cause is drowning, followed by incidents from transportation (standing in front of a moving train), falls from heights, electrocution and firearms.

Every one of them was preventable. About 75% of the lethal selfies were males. The author of a recent study concluded that this has become a large “health problem”.

The study’s conclusion: They should create “no-selfie zones” around bodies of water, mountain peaks and tall buildings.  The Journal of Travel Medicine notes that taking a selfie can result in a lack of situational awareness and distraction.

The Journal continues: self-photography using a forward lens of a smart phone has emerged as a “phenomenon in recent years” and is “particularly common in young adults.”

Another SRT death was by a young  married couple in Yosemite National Park in California. The couple, in their early 30’s, took a selfie at Taft Point which has no railing and an 800-foot vertical drop.

The camera on a tripod had an image of the couple before they fell. Park rangers used binoculars to find their bodies below.

Selfies are here to stay, or at least until the next technology comes along which helps the next generation to satisfy their need for self-admiration. They are what I have called “digitally-obsessed” by social media.

It is not just a North America phenomenon:  “More people died taking selfies in India than anywhere in the world.  Way more.”  Other countries include Russia, Pakistan, and of course, the U.S.

As I have noted, the millennial in America is not much different from the millennial in the rest of the world.  85% of fatalities from taking selfies comes from those between the ages of 10 and 30.

SRT is the subject of comprehensive studies as a “growing problem of the modern society.”

The culprit?:   “Large-scale use of cell phone(s) worldwide and underlying risk in selfie behavior seems the culprit.”   One person has invented the word “selfieside”, a play on “suicide”.  Not sure it has caught on, but it’s meaning is clear.

Social media became the platform for people to post their selfies, often with remarkable backgrounds. It didn’t take much time for people to try to outdo their friends, and, Voila, we have a problem.

The BBC reported that “Even a million ‘likes’ on social media are not worth your life or your well-being.”  India, Russia and Indonesia have now started establishing “no-selfie” zones.  Russia now has graphic signs with icons showing people taking dangerous selfies with a red bar.

Thailand has gone so far as to outlaw selfies on Mai Khao Beach where tourists flock to swim, sunbake and watch planes. The planes fly extremely low overhead before landing at Phuket International Airport.

Thailand declared the beach a no-picture zone. The maximum penalty for violation is the death sentence, although you could get lucky and just 20 years of jail time.

Some instances of SRT are on the annual list of the Darwin Awards, including taking a selfie next to a wild bear.  The awards commemorate “those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.” The awards are delivered posthumously, I might add.

The solution?  Well, how about common sense for one thing. Taking a selfie can be risky depending on where it is taken. Standing on the edge of a cliff or in front an oncoming train to catch a once-in-a-lifetime selfie may end up being just that.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Mentors need to be aware of the risks of their mentees taking selfies in dangerous circumstances. Life and limb are more important than a good photo.


More than 250 deaths worldwide due to Selfies.

Study on Selfie Deaths – 2011-2017

Journal of Travel Medicine – Reducing Selfie Risk while Traveling

Teen Falls to Death in Yosemite Park Taking Selfie   ABC News

Comprehensive Study of World-Wide Selfie Related Accident Mortality  National Institute of Health

Selfie-Esteem MentorLink Blog

The 2018 Darwin Awards list.

Thailand’s Death Penalty for Selfies near island Airport.

WORSHIP:  Listen to Chris Tomlin sing “We Fall Down”.

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