Social Media Encouraging Risky and Inappropriate Behaviors
A growing number of daredevils are risking injury or even death, in pursuit of clicks, likes, and followers. According to a study done by the University of Plymouth, risky social media posts are not just due to impulsivity, but might be a deliberate strategy to fit in with the wider social media culture that makes people believe “it’s the right thing to do.” Another study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found that some 259 people died taking selfies between October 2011 and November 2017. This figure brings one question to mind…Is your life worth a photo?
College Student Dies After Falling from Clock Tower
A Fordham University senior who was climbing up the campus’ bell tower fell to her death in a tragic accident early Sunday morning. Sydney Monfries, 22, fell through an opening in a stairway landing at Keating Hall and plummeted down the side of the clock and bell tower, according to the New York City Police Department. The fall was about 30 to 40 feet and Monfries was found critically injured with trauma to her head and body and later died.
Monfried had posted a video on Snapchat from the top of the tower early Sunday with the caption “Bell Tower”. It was reported that climbing the stairs of the clock tower, which is supposed to remain locked on campus, is a “rite of passage” for students who try to touch the bell and take pictures before their graduation.
Intoxicated and In the Pursuit of Social Media Content
In October 2018, a young, globe-trotting couple from India living in California were identified as the two people who plunged to their deaths from a 3,500-foot overlook last week in Yosemite National Park. Meenakshi Moorthy, 30, and her husband, Vishni Viswanath, 29 fell to their deaths from Taft Point, which offers stunning views of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Fall and El Capitan. The couple who considered themselves as a “dream doer duo” traveled the world documenting their trips to locales like the Grand Canyon, Paris, New York City, Niagara Falls, London, Big Sur and other scenic destinations.
The couple also maintained a visually stunning Instagram account that tracked their travels around the world. In one post from March, Moorthy was photographed as she watched a sunset in the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, where she foreshadows the dangers of “standing at the edge of cliffs,” according to the post. “A lot of us including yours truly is a fan of daredevilry attempts of standing at the edge of cliffs and skyscrapers but did you know that wind gusts can be FATAL???” Moorthy wrote. “Is our life just worth one photo?” A park-goer who witnessed the couples said that they appeared to be having a good time but were in treacherous territory. He also mentioned how Moorthy was very close to the edge. A coroner’s report showed that the couples was intoxicated at the time of the tragic fall, but is unknown what level of intoxication.
Reported Selfie-Related Deaths
There have been 259 reported selfie deaths from 2011 to 2017. Many of those included in that figure weren’t habitual social media risk takers or rising social media stars, but regular people who happened to be killed while taking selfies during unusual circumstances. Although there have been many selfie deaths, it’s also true that many people who do engage in frequent risk taking for social media aren’t taking selfies – they’re the models, photographed by other – and as such, fatalities in this category aren’t counted as “selfie deaths.” Some selfie-related deaths go unreported and it is unknown how many people have died in recent years due to risk-taking social trend, but what we do know is that fatalities and injuries are on the rise.
The leading cause of death while taking selfies is drowning, followed by transportation (trains and cars), and then falling from high places. Other social media-driven stunts include dangerous driving or riding a bike or motorcycle; climbing on or touching power lines; posing on railroad tracks; posing with guns, grenades, or other weapons; and posing on beaches or on rocks with large waves.