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Selfies have become so popular that many people will go to extremes to get a "great one." Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Safety is important when snapping selfies

Selfie-takers everywhere, including Ohio State students, could be getting more than they bargained for when they snap their picture.

As the selfie-taking trend continues, so do the unintended injuries, and even deaths, that result from being distracted while shooting pictures of oneself.

According to Priceonomics, a website devoted to analyzing data, last year alone, 28 people worldwide died while taking a selfie. Comparably, 12 people died playing football, eight died from shark attacks and vending machines claimed two lives.

These statistics might seem surprising, but with the popularity of selfies increasing, the rate of selfie-related injuries is rising as well.

Emily Gazdag, a second-year in special education at OSU, found herself in a precarious situation last August.

“I had just gotten my hair cut, and she did this really weird thing with my part, and I was Snapchatting my friend (while driving), and I didn’t realize that the light was red, and I slammed into the person in front of me,” Gazdag said.

While Gazdag came out of her accident with only a few bruises, fellow OSU student Jimmy Kahan, a third-year in welding engineering, had a more serious outcome from his selfie-related accident.

Kahan was snowboarding at Mad River Mountain, as he had been doing for years, and wanted to try something he had never done before: a selfie backflip on a snowboard.

“This consists of taking a selfie video on Snapchat while going off a jump and backflipping,” Kahan said. “My first attempt at this feat ended in my phone flying out of my hand and under- rotating the flip.”

Attempting this selfie backflip resulted in arm pain for a few days and a broken pinkie finger.

“It ended my day on the slopes, but only entitled me to try again,” Kahan said. “On my second attempt, I nailed the flip while successfully getting the selfie video.”

The most common ways selfie-related fatalities happen are falling from heights, drowning and getting hit by a train, according to Priceonomics.

“I don’t think people realize there could be dangerous consequences,” said Mackenzie Kibbe, a graduate student in OSU’s School of Communication researching media effects. “People have an illusion of invulnerability that ‘(something bad) won’t happen to me.’”

So, what makes selfies worth the risk?

“Probably the reason people are doing these things that get them injured is they are wanting to get likes and get attention. The more drastic you are (in the selfie), the most likes you will get,” Kibbe said. “Your first thought if you’re in a cool place is ‘I wanna get a selfie.’”

However, Kahan said in his mind, the reward is always worth the risk.

“(I) made a solid Instagram and contributed to my legacy at Mad River Mountain,” Kahan said. “‘Stay high, but don’t forget about the landing’ is my perspective while I snowboard.”

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