mid-day editorial: Lives matter more than likes

The selfie mania claimed yet more lives this weekend as three teenage girls fell into the sea after they clambered onto the slippery rocks at Bandra Bandstand to click pictures. Seeing them in trouble, a 35-year-old local, Ramesh Walanju, jumped in and pulled out two of them, but neither the third girl nor he managed to make it back from the waves.

This is not the first time that the selfie obsession has caused needless loss of lives. Some time ago, 14-year-old S Eshwarkar died after he accidentally touched an overhead cable while trying to click a selfie atop a train parked at a Central Railway car shed. Another teenager, Ganesh K sustained 90% burns and died after he accidentally touched a 25,000-volt overhead wire at the Jogeshwari railway yard. He too was trying to click a train rooftop selfie.

This craze for capturing ‘daring’ acts on photo has led to numerous accidents and, in extreme cases, deaths. Most of the victims are youngsters, for whom their phones have become inseparable appendages. They are reckless in their pursuit of what they think makes a good picture, stopping or going anywhere with little regard for the perils. Even the girls who fell into the sea at Bandstand went to a spot that is known to be dangerous. Locals said that although they warn visitors not go there, hardly anyone pays heed.

Look before you leap — or click, in this case — should be the mantra for youngsters. There are certain designated selfie points in parks in the city, they can stop there and indulge their selfie passion, if they have to.
Parents, teachers and counsellors must drill it into teenagers’ heads that no selfie — or the resulting one minute of fame on social media — is worth the risk. Public spots should now carry warning signs, and perhaps the government can also release public service adverts citing the dangers of such recklessness.

Selfie buffs, remember, one picture on social media or a thousand likes, is not worth losing your life or limb.

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