Unsafe Selfies


Angela Nikolau and her boyfriend, Ivan Beerkus, above Hong Kong
photo via YouTube/Elevation

What would you do to take the perfect selfie? Would you do something dangerous? Crazy? Adam Navis and Katy Blake tell about government efforts to stop people from taking dangerous selfies.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2  

And I’m Katy Blake. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Have you ever taken a great selfie? You hold out your phone. You turn it toward your own face. Then you smile and click the button.

Voice 2  

How far would you go to take the perfect selfie? A person may take many selfies to get the best one. But would you go further than that? Would you travel to another country? Would you climb up a very big mountain - or a monument, like the Eiffel Tower? Would you hang over the edge with one hand, with nothing but a hundred meters between you and the ground? Would you risk your life?

Voice 1  

This is exactly what some people have been doing to take selfies. But governments are starting to treat these dangerous selfies as a problem. Today’s spotlight is on Unsafe Selfies.

Voice 2  

Most people know what a selfie looks like. A selfie is a photograph or video that a person takes of themselves using a smartphone camera. Usually people put them on the internet. They share their selfies with their friends using social media websites like Facebook and Instagram. Often, people will take selfies to show that they have been to an interesting place or just to show what they are doing.

Voice 1  

Some people even make money by taking selfies. Angela Nikolau is a 24-year-old Russian art student. Over 550,000 people follow her on Instagram. She takes selfies of herself and her boyfriend when they travel. Nikolau is so popular that travel groups, camera companies, and clothing brands pay her to include their name or product in her picture.

Voice 2  

But the selfies Nikolau takes are not normal selfies. Nikolau climbs very tall buildings. She takes pictures of herself on top of them. Once, she climbed the tallest construction crane in the world. In her selfie, she stands on the very top of the crane. It is almost too small to stand on. Hundreds of meters below her, the city looks like it is a child’s play thing.

Voice 1  

Nikolau believes that her selfies are a kind of art. And part of her art is sharing it with other people. In a 2017 interview with the BBC, she said

Voice 3  

“Sometimes I just climb up a building without a camera just to see a colourful sky. But if you are asking why I film myself, imagine an artist painting all alone in his studio. He is painting, painting, painting for five years. He paints until he feels like he is drowning in his own work. And he thinks ‘who am I doing this for? Is there any point to my work?’ We need people to see what we are doing. That is just part of being human.”

Voice 2  

Nikolau’s selfies are special. But she is not the only person who takes dangerous selfies. Some people have even injured themselves taking a selfie. Others have died. Pavel Kashin was a young man who practiced parkour. Parkour is a sport where people move quickly over different kinds of surfaces, including ground, walls, and other obstacles. It is also called freerunning. Many people freerun in cities and on top of buildings. It can be a very dangerous sport.

Voice 1  

Kashin often filmed himself freerunning on rooftops. But in 2013, there was a terrible accident. Kashin filmed himself doing tricks on the edge of a very tall building. But during one he landed badly. He tripped on the edge of the building and fell 16 stories. The fall killed him.

Voice 2  

In India, selfie deaths and injuries have become a big problem. Between 2014 and 2016, half of all selfie deaths happened in India. The data website priceonomics.com looked at some data around selfie deaths. They say that, around the world, selfie deaths are most common to people under 21 years old. About three quarters of them are male. And the most common ways people die while taking selfies are falling from very high, drowning, or being killed by a train.

Voice 1  

People like Nikolau or Kashin know they are doing something dangerous. But not everyone taking selfies thinks about the possible danger. A person taking a selfie may be in a normal situation. But their cameras distract them, making them think about something else. They do not see the world around them.

Voice 2  

In one example, in 2017, four friends were taking selfies at Nagoa Beach in India. They were standing on some high rocks by the ocean. They were taking pictures as waves splashed up to them. But then a huge wave came toward them. The wave washed over the rocks and pulled the four friends out to sea. All four drowned.

Voice 1  

Because of the increase of selfie deaths, some places in India have banned taking selfies. Mumbai is one of the largest cities in India. It is a great place for people to visit. But Mumbai has had to mark 16 places in the city where people cannot take selfies.

Voice 2  

And India is not the only country banning selfies in some areas. The government of Russia has also issued warnings about taking unsafe selfies. And in the United States, selfies are banned in some wildlife areas. Too many people walk dangerously close to wild animals to get a picture.

Voice 1  

The number of people dying while taking a selfie is increasing around the world. But there are easy ways to avoid injury while taking a selfie.

Voice 2  

First, look where you are when you take a picture.

Voice 1  

Second, think to yourself: could this place be dangerous? If there is a risk, do not take it. Your life is more important than a picture.

Voice 2  

Rajendran Narayanan is an Indian cultural scientist. He told National Public Radio,

Voice 4  

“Just taking a selfie is not harmful or dangerous. But taking a selfie in a dangerous place is. We should all learn this.”

Voice 1  

Do you know people who have hurt themselves taking a selfie? Have you ever taken an unsafe selfie? Tell us about your experiences. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2  

The writer of this program was Dan Christmann. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Unsafe Selfies.

Voice 1  

Look for our free official app in the Google Play Store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you take selfies? Have you ever taken a selfie that put you in danger?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
jassm
said on April 16, 2018

I usually not take a selfie i dont love it.

Avatar Spotlight
Vuong Huu Dinh
said on April 17, 2018

Careful
First of all, people warn that this is a dangerous place. but sometime there is still dangerous thing happen, because people have never known or have never seen that warning.

Everything can happen if people have not mind when they are taking selfies in dangerous area.

So, to prevent that things happen, you not only warn by table and but also warn by the voice everytime and everywhere.

Every year, the fall down on waterfall were kill tens of people, most people come there to visit and to take selfie were warned, but still saw dangerous.

In the moutaint top, that place is a dangerous area but some couple still climb to take selfies, first, they think they are heros and then they show that they were staying there for your friends and relationship, they have never thought they were facing the death.

On the sea, many people were warned that do not take the pictures here, but they climb on the top of the boat to be taken selfies. and then if it is unlucky, the death is going to happen easily.

Careful, careful is a thing which have never enough

Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on April 17, 2018

Mainly young people often are not able to recognise big danger in particular situations therefore their activities are being too risky, crazy, they are doing things ‘‘without thinking twice.’‘Consequently actions like those sometimes may lead to untimely, unnecessary death unfortunately. Of course, showing, sharing dangerous selfies on Internet is really amusing, interesting but getting unsafe selfies represents the dangerous, unreasonable activity that is not worth loss of life or health in any case! Simply, only a little more accurate contemplation, carefulness just as governments’ strict bans and supervision are needed urgently!