With selfies becoming the rage of the 21st century, it is high time that we put this practice into a perspective scanner and see what negative consequences does it hold for the society. Travel today has become synonymous with the number of selfies that we click on different locations and how soon we upload them on our Facebook profile. But sometimes we forget that in a hurry to click those selfies, unwittingly we are putting ourselves in a danger zone. It seems that Mumbai is the first city in India to get alarmed by the dangerous consequences of capturing selfies and has taken a step ahead in nullifying the unforeseen events related to this practice. Infact it is launching police patrols to prevent photo-related fatalities. This severe step has been taken in response to the recent causalities happened in India as a result of taking selfies at wrong standpoints. India has been home to the maximum number of people who have died while taking selfies, with 19 of the world’s 49 recorded selfie-linked deaths since 2014.
Mumbai police deems certain areas to be risky zones such as areas along the coastline in spots with no railings or barriers and has put on selfie off limits in these areas. In order to put in a deterrent punishment for those who practice it even after this order, the Mumbai police will slap a fine of 1,200 rupees, about £13. The idea is to discourage people from moving into those areas or to put themselves in troubled waters. Among the sites shortlisted as risky are the beachfronts at Dadar and Juhu, the Bandra Bandstand and forts at Worli and Bandra. Only recently a teenager and her two friends fell off rocks into the Arabian Sea near Bandra Bandstand in the north of the city while clicking selfies. A passerby, 37-year-old Ramesh Walanju, jumped in and helped save the two friends, but was washed away by the choppy waters and his body was found floating in a nearby creek later on.
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Apart from this direct step that has been taken to discourage people from taking selfies in these areas, Mumbai police has also laid down plans to run a selfie risk awareness campaign. Although indirect, this is equally an effective step in making people realize the nature of hazards that the excessive obsession with selfies entails. Last year, the Russian government also reportedly launched a campaign to make young people think twice before snapping selfies in risky situations.
There are a number of youngsters who would disapprove of this law and would term it as an intervention in one’s personal take on travel. However, one must bear in mind that travel need not be substituted with this obsession for taking selfies. With the rise in social media, selfies have become a part and parcel of self-aggrandizement and a need to put oneself in a favourable and desirable light before the world. According to Mumbai-based psychologist Keerti Sachdeva, the world of selfies is a result of this desire to find acceptance and recognition from their peers. "You know people have this sort of feeling in adolescent age, especially that they need to get this acceptance from everyone, that I am a smart person, I am a good-looking person,” Sachdeva said. "So for acceptance and recognition they are indulging in the taking of selfies.” Taking cue from this desire, the technology and social media promote ideas such as selfies to create a kind of an obsession with the trending world.
The best solution to this ailing "fever" is to find a middle path. While selfies can be certainly a means to boost up one one’s image in the society, it should definitely not become the reason to bring an end to a beautiful life. This realization should come from the people other than the government taking steps against it. Voices might call this act as stifling of the self-expression, but the pivotal reason for it is also to make people realize how precious their lives are.
Let selfies be an indulgence but not a mania!
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