Teenage Death In India; A Deadly Selfie Culture

On Sunday, 7th February, 2016, a teenager died in the southern Indian city of Chennai while attempting to take a selfie on railway tracks. He’d walked onto the track to get close to an oncoming passenger train, to take a killer (no pun intended) Sunday picture. Quite unfortunately, he couldn’t move away in time and was mowed down by the train in Chennai (Madras).

Reports from local police officers suggest that the 16 year old was returning home after a day spent with friends and decided to take a picture in front of the train in Chennai. Railway police officer S. Ramuthai told the AFP news agency, “it was a freak accident. More youngsters are now addicted to taking selfies”.

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Wikipedia defines a selfie as a self-portrait photograph, that’s typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The basic taste is for flattering, casual looking self portraits, that seem like much thought has not been put into them. This is however achieved in a round about manner with extensive preparations and considerations taken priorly only proceeded by an affectation of normalcy to give followers the notion that we live widely exciting lives.

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Hankering for social media followings, likes and comments that are designation of popularity in this generation, drive the culture. The popularity of selfies can be easily seen when one considers the quick take-over of Instagram as the social media network of choice and the recent adaptation of filters in Facebook photo uploads.


The number of deaths related to selfie taking are steadily increasing with a 2015 report that projects the reality of more people being killed taking selfies than from shark attacks. From posing with handguns that have accidentally discharged, taking selfies while driving to falling from precarious positions, the reports present a sad hilarity. Just last week, an Austrian tourist had to be rescued from a well in Junagadh in western India after she fell into a well while taking a selfie.

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In handling this phenomenon, the Russian Ministry of Interior had released a “Selfie Safety Guide” in 2015 which basically warns selfie enthusiasts about some common dangerous behaviors. Police in Mumbai declared “no-selfie-zones” last month that included the iconic sea-facing Marine Drive promenade and the popular Girgaum Chowpatty beach, both major tourist attractions, a decision taken after an 18-year-old drowned in the sea during a selfie attempt.


No doubt the selfie culture is a big almost indistinguishable part of this generation, but we must all take appropriate care to err on the side of caution in our bid to project our dazzling, exciting lives, so that everyone comes out smiling at the end of it.