Study Highlights Public Health Concerns Surrounding Selfie-Related Injuries And Deaths In Australia

According to a recent study, the rising trend of selfies, fuelled by social media, is not just a passing phenomenon but a growing public health concern. 

Samuel Cornell, the lead author from the University of New South Wales, has released Australia’s inaugural comprehensive study on selfie-related deaths.

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The paper collected news reports of selfie-related deaths as well as a cross-sectional study of 379 fatalities since 2008.

Differences in selfie-related deaths emerged when comparing Australia and the United States to other countries. 

The study found that falls from cliff edges in coastal settings were the most common cause of such incidents in both countries, with drowning being a prevalent contributory mechanism. 

“It’s a problem that isn’t going anywhere,” Mr Cornell told ABC.

“People are more and more online, children are growing up with social media and smartphones from a very early age now,” he said.

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“In the age of social media, people do want to go to beautiful places that photograph well because it looks great on their social media profiles, whether on TikTok or Instagram.”

The research has emphasised the lack of prevention recommendations in both academic literature and media reports.

While some studies suggested measures like “no selfie zones”, barriers, and signage, there was limited attention given to behaviour change methodologies or direct safety messaging on social media platforms.

Mr Cornell said popular but also deadly photo spots such as Babinda Boulders, South of Cairns, have claimed the lives of people who ignored no-swimming signs.

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