Russian government issues guide to avoiding hazardous selfies

Technically Incorrect: It may seem like common sense not to stray too near an approaching train while taking a selfie. Sadly, this doesn't appear to be the case.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Taking a selfie on a steep staircase may not be the best idea. (Click to enlarge.) Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Vladimir Putin's Russian government hasn't yet endeared itself universally to the world. Or even to many of its immediate neighbors.

However, it's decided to show a little heart when it comes to selfies.

The powers-that-are in Moscow have become deeply concerned about the number of Russians who have died while taking them.

They have decided to issue a guide to safe selfie-taking. Russian newspaper Izvestia tells me that the campaign has the theme of "Your health and your life aren't worth risking for a million likes." (This is my -- and Google's -- translation. It could do with work.)

Russia's Ministry of the Interior held a press conference to announce the initiative and launch its pictorial guide. The guide (there's a PDF too) offers helpful pointers, and local police will apparently be handing it out to selfie-takers.

It says, for example, that you shouldn't take a selfie while holding a gun. This idea was likely inspired by reports of a 21-year-old Russian woman who shot herself in the head while taking a selfie.

The guide also suggests that use of a selfie stick isn't ideal near railway lines. Taking selfies on the roofs of tall buildings is discouraged too.

You might think some (or even all) these things are merely common sense. However, the Associated Press reports that in Russia this year 10 people have died and 100 have been injured while trying to capture their perfect selves.

Indeed, many of these new strictures are based on true stories.

Izvestia describes, for example, two people in Omsk who were injured while trying to take a selfie with an adder.

Recently, two teenagers tried to take a selfie on the roof of a train and were electrocuted.

But it's not as if Russia is somehow alone when it comes to the utter absorption of human beings wanting to document their whole selves and doing it dangerously.

People in California have tried to take selfies with bears. The New York State Assembly last year passed a bill that outlawed selfies with tigers. There was even a claim by a Nebraska football player that he'd taken a selfie with a raccoon. The animal had bitten him, an action that led him to allegedly kill the raccoon accidentally with a wrench.

Moreover, in regard to the case of the Russian woman with the gun, a similar incident occurred in Mexico.

Izvestia even mentions selfie-takers after a volcano erupted in Japan.

It says (Google's translation): "Many of them were not even scared of the approaching cloud of volcanic ash -- people continued calmly taking pictures of themselves on smartphones and

. As a result, some of them died of suffocation or were killed in a hail of flying stones from the crater of the volcano."

Civilization, meet thyself. But please don't take so many pictures of thyself.