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Extreme Selfies

People are dying to get silly shots. Don’t be one of them.

Alexander Piragis/Shutterstock.com (Volcano)

Unsafe Selfie
A young traveler snaps a selfie in front of an active volcano in Russia. Officials there have put up signs warning against unsafe selfies. 

    What would you do to get a cool selfie? Would you snuggle up to a four-ton elephant? Would you stand in front of a speeding train? Would you sit at the edge of a six-story building? 

    Hopefully not. People have done each of those things—and died trying.

    Taking selfies can be fun. Snapping a picture of yourself on the beach or at a track meet can help you remember a great day. It can honor a friendship or help you express what you’re feeling.

    But for some people, that’s not enough. Selfie-takers around the world are trying risky stunts with cameras in hand. And sometimes their stunts go terribly wrong. 

    Between 2014 and 2016, at least 127 people died taking dangerous selfies. Most of them fell from cliffs or buildings. Some tumbled into the ocean and drowned. Others crashed cars while taking a picture. 

    The stories are shocking. In India, many people have tried to take selfies with elephants. Several of these people have been trampled to death. In Italy, three boys dared each other to take selfies on a train track. One of them was hit by a train and killed.

    Some people are trying to stop these foolish deaths. The city of Mumbai, in India, has police officers guarding 16 no-selfie zones. In Russia, officials have made signs warning against unsafe selfies. And a group of experts have even made a cell phone app to help save lives.

    Called Saftie, the app alerts you when you’re about to enter an unsafe selfie zone—like the roof of a tall building.

    But you don’t need an app to tell you that no picture is worth putting yourself in danger. Selfies should be a way to celebrate your life—not end it. 

ACTIVITY

Mini Skills Workout

Find two words in the text that mean “dangerous.”  

What is the city of Mumbai doing to try to prevent deaths from selfies?

Find a sentence in the article that explains how the Saftie app might help save lives.

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Skills Sheets (1)