Isn’t it great that you were able to pose a selfie with a snake wrap around your shoulders? Or get that dangerous pose on top of the train while it’s moving? It is time to think before we click that phone camera!
Around 477 deaths due to dangerous selfies have been recorded from 2011 to 2018. This does not include the thousands of victims who were injured because of taking selfies while driving. The country with the highest selfie-related deaths was India having 76 casualties followed by Pakistan with 9 and the USA with 8. Other countries with similar selfie deaths were Russia, Philippines, China, Spain, Indonesia, Portugal, Peru, Turkey, Romania, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Italy, Serbia, Chile, Nepal, and Hongkong. According to studies, the majority of selfie deaths were taken on the edge of a cliff. Selfie deaths also tremendously increased per year from 2014 up to 2018 where men have the most number of victims.
But why do people risk their lives for a selfie? People like taking risks and being recognized for being able to survive a scary task. Dopamine, a chemical messenger that carries signals between brain cells, is the one responsible for our addiction and cravings toward an activity like love, lust, gambling, and reward. Dopamine gives us the pleasure of doing things motivating us to keep repeating an act to its extent. High Dopamine comes from too much sugar, caffeine and anything that boosts our energy level. More risky selfies mean more fun and reward from the people around us.
The amount of attention that every individual wants vary according to our psychological needs, genetics, purpose and life experiences. Normally, an average person needs little attention from others, but due to factors that affect our mental health, we tend to ask more attention and find happiness for being praised when we do something that is very peculiar.
Social media has satisfied our cravings for attention and recognition. Researchers at the Free University of Berlin have discovered that gaining friends and likes on Facebook can activate the nucleus accumbens which gives the same feeling of being praised and recognized. People who were given more praises tend to seek more attention. The more they seek attention, the more they come up with deadly ideas that will make their friends and connections more proud of them. This results to unconsciously putting themselves in danger just to make a horrible photo shoot.
How can we avoid being controlled by this “desire” to be recognized? We have to think about small things that we might lose if we will be out of control. Think about our jobs, our family, our kids, our expensive clothes or even our precious collections. When we practice thinking about taking care of things that we might lose, we will be able to listen to our mind about being cautious in doing things or in taking selfies. We should be able to overcome the excitement that devours us to avoid being a victim of a supposedly fun activity.