The Russian government this week warned its citizens of the life-threatening dangers involved with selfies, as part of a new public awareness campaign. The campaign, launched Tuesday by Russia's interior ministry, comes in response to a series of accidents that resulted from people trying to take selfies in high-risk situations. Authorities hope that illustrated pamphlets and selfie-safety classes in schools will prevent similar incidents in the future.
"Unfortunately we have noted recently that the number of accidents caused by lovers of self-photography is constantly increasing," Yelena Alexeyeva, an aide to Russia's interior minister, tells AFP. "Since the beginning of the year we are talking about some hundred cases of injuries for sure."
The "Safe Selfie" pamphlet (PDF) released Tuesday depicts dangerous selfie situations in the style of roadside warning signs. In one, a figure holds a selfie stick in front of an oncoming train, above a caption that reads: "A selfie on the railway tracks is a bad idea if you value your life." Other graphics urge people to not take selfies in the company of tigers or while holding a gun. "A cool selfie could cost you your life," the leaflet reads. The ministry has also released a public safety video that includes risky shots taken by smartphone users.
Russian police say at least ten people have died trying to take selfies since the beginning of this year, with at least 100 suffering injuries. In May, a Moscow woman survived a gunshot to the head while taking a selfie with a loaded handgun, and teenagers have been electrocuted while trying to take selfies from the top of a train. People familiar with other dangerous selfie situations have been urged to submit their ideas to the ministry through an online form.