Dangerous selfies

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In the quest for the selfie to beat all selfies, some people go too far. Often the acts are dangerous, stupid and sometimes painful.

Selfies are immensely popular and everywhere on social media. Apart from Facebook and Instagram, there are several sites dedicated to particular types of selfies, and the top spot in the world for taking selfies is the Eiffel tower. i

In some places, selfie sticks are banned for safety reasons, such as at the Sydney Opera House, all Disneyland parks and all of South Korea.

A diver takes a selfie with a shark.

In a Gold Coast incident this year, a man posted photos of himself hanging off high-rises. He was charged with trespass and doing "unregulated high-risk activities". A police superintendent said of the case: "This encourages others to follow suit, thinking it's a fun thing to do when it can have absolutely tragic circumstances." ii

Here are six selfie experiences you should try to avoid.

1 Bear Grylls has nothing on me!

Taking a photo with a great white or grizzly bear is risky, but did you know a cuddly selfie with your fluffy cat, Furrball, could land you in hospital with blood poisoning? Reluctant kitties can express their discomfort with a quick bite, and the deep puncture and quick surface healing means bacteria gets trapped under your skin iii. Also, take care you don’t get your fingers nipped by Freddo when capturing a precious memory.

2 Cliffhanger

You can't pose anymore at Wedding Cake Rock, NSW, which was closed in May this year after selfies appeared on Instagram and visitor numbers surged from 2,000 to 10,000. Why? Because a geotechnical survey unexpectedly showed it will collapse within the next decade iv!

3 Tour de crash

Standing in the middle of the road taking a selfie with your back turned while 200 Tour de France cyclists whizz towards you is right up there with foolhardy things to do. Particularly since the cyclists often get injured in a pile-up from trying to avoid you v. Also, no Photoshop was used when US sports reporter Kelly Nash took a selfie just as a baseball came hurtling towards her head.

4 Climate change deniers

It's easy to get literally swept away with the thrill of capturing yourself for posterity amidst the primal elements: waves, lightning, hurricanes, waterspouts. Unfortunately authorities are having to issue warnings about upcoming storms because the need to impress friends is over-riding common sense vi.

The Eiffel tower is the world's most popular selfie spot.

5 Train whistle blowin'

Level crossings and level-headedness don't necessarily go together with people increasingly taking photos when they think no trains are coming vii. But today's trains travel faster than ever, so it's better to take your pic while ON the train.

6 Walk on the Wild side

Walking is the safest form of exercise, right? No! Never take a selfie when you're standing at the top of a staircase. Don't use your selfie stick while walking backwards - or forwards, for that matter - as you'll be so focused on looking hot, you won't realise you could hurt someone by poking an eye out with it viii.

i Hedwat, F. 2015, 'The Eiffel Tower is the World's top selfie attraction', Attractiontix, 3 February, viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.attractiontix.co.uk/blog/2015/02/03/eiffel-tower-worlds-top-selfie-attraction/

ii Weymes, M. 2015. 'Man accused of hanging from high rise windows and taking dangerous selfies granted bail', news.com.au, 28 October, viewed 7 December, 2015, http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/crime-court/man-accused-of-hanging-from-high-rise-windows-and-taking-dangerous-selfies-granted-bail/story-fnje8bkv-1227584621885

iii VCA Animal Hospitals, 'Wounds - cat bite injuries to humans', viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/wounds-cat-bite-injuries-to-humans/63

iv AAP. 2015, 'Wedding Cake Rock likely to collapse into the sea in next 10 years', theguardian.com, 24 June, viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/24/wedding-cake-rock-likely-to-collapse-into-the-sea-in-next-10-years

v Ingle, S. 2014, 'Tour de France 2014: selfies the new pain in the arse for riders', viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/jul/06/tour-de-france-2014-selfies-pain-arse-riders

vi 'Authorities warn UK public not to take storm selfies in bad weather tonight', viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.unilad.co.uk/news/authorities-warn-uk-public-not-to-take-storm-selfies-in-bad-weather-tonight/

vii Derby region. 2015, 'Stop taking selfies on railway tracks, Network Rail warns', BBC News, 26 October, viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-34632229

viii Selfie Stick Gear. 2015, 'Selfie stick etiquette you should follow', viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.selfiestickgear.com/blogs/articles/46292801-selfie-stick-etiquette-you-should-follow