Anne Majumdar

Travellers are no strangers to the occasional selfie but, as you strike a pose in front of the Grand Canyon or Uluru, beware of the ever-increasing list of dangers associated with the form of happy snapping.

In July, it emerged that frequent selfie-takers experiencing pain or stiffness in their selfie-snapping arm could have a new ailment called “selfie elbow”.

Rather than a fatal illness, it’s more a repetitive strain injury – an ailment of the technological age joining the likes of text claw and iPad hand.


Of course, selfies have also been held to blame for a range of far more severe injuries and even death.

Intrepid travellers in search of the ultimate selfie have gone to the extreme to get their snap but sometimes with tragic results.

Also in July, Colleen Burns of Florida fell from a cliff to her death as she posed for a group shot in the Grand Canyon with her hiking friends.

The same month saw the sad demise of two tourists in Peru. South Korean Kim Jongyeob, lost his footing while trying to take a picture on the edge of the Gocta waterfall in the country’s north-east region falling 1,600ft to his death.

On the same day, German tourist Oliver Park, 51, fell from a cliff overlooking Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes in his attempt to take a ‘flying’ selfie, instead fatally slipping backwards down a ravine.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Over in Croatia, a 54-year old Slovakian tourist died as she attempted to get a selfie on the edge of a cliff in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The tragedy, not the first of its kind, prompted Croation Mountain Rescue to post a desperate plea on its Twitter account:

It’s not all bad press for the selfie phenomenon however. Besides tourism marketing organisations reaping the overall benefits of this popular form of user-generated content, selfies have actually helped to save lives.

When a couple found themselves stranded on a hike in the Peak District in June, a selfie that showed their location enabled mountain rescue services to track down and rescue them, calling the rescue “possibly our first callout via selfie”.

So, to ditch the selfie or not?

There’s no doubting that selfies have become an intrinsic part of our daily lives. It’s not just celebs that are doing it, our friends and colleagues are doing it, even our mums and dads, and yes…  our pets too.

For many, it’s an addiction.


For others, just a bit of fun.

But whatever your reason, for spinning that lens around, be safe – with those elbows, and especially those lives.

Are you a selfie-addict?