Selfie sticks: unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly seen (or at least heard of) the newest trend in taking selfies. Despite overwhelming reports that selfie sticks can lead to dangerous and distracted situations, the selfie stick doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
Earlier this year, Disney confirmed their ban on selfie sticks following an incident that shut down a rollercoaster at Disney’s California Adventure. The ride was shut down for over an hour after a man used his selfie stick to capture his experience atop the coaster. The selfie stick-induced shutdown caused guests to be stranded at the top of the ride amidst safety concerns. Although the selfie stick may provide for a great photo, the concern lies in injury to other guests if they are accidentally struck during a photo opportunity. Even more frightening is the possibility that the selfie stick could inadvertently come into contact with parts of the ride that are crucial to its safe functioning.
In May, 2015, a YouTube clip of four people singing went viral after they filmed themselves using a selfie stick and ended up getting into a car accident. Although it appears that no one was injured, the cause of the distracted driving was clear: the selfie stick.
If that’s not enough to make you reconsider your favorite selfie device, most recently, in July, 2015, the selfie stick was credited with the first known selfie stick-inflicted death. According to SlashGear, a man traveling in Brecon Beacons mountain range in Powys, Mid Wales, was struck by lightning and killed while using a selfie stick. Although it’s still unclear, some theories speculate that the selfie stick may also double as an effective and dangerous lightning rod.
Although selfie sticks aren’t necessarily new, their rise to popularity is fairly recent. A few selfie stick companies, such as iStabilizer, have been around for years and also offer alternative, less distracting options for taking self portraits, in addition to the traditional selfie stick.
Is it worth spending another 30 seconds to take a self portrait if you’re able to avoid distraction-related injuries and death? The answer should be clear. Then again, if you would rather end up like the family who got swept away by a riptide after using their selfie stick for a group photo while swimming in Nantucket, you may want to keep that selfie stick handy.