New data suggests more Australians than ever are dying taking selfies

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New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed the highest number of accidental falls from cliffs since the organisation began recording the data in 2012, raising fears that selfie-obsessed Australians are to blame.

ABS data released this week reported that 3,747 people plunged to their deaths in 2021, a significant increase from 3,395 in 2020 and 2,729 in 2016. The 2021 figures includes 34 people falling from buildings and 20 from cliffs - the highest number of accidental falls from cliffs since records began.

Speaking with The Herald Sun, the director of the Kidman Centre at the University of Technology in Sydney, Dr Rachael Murrihy, said social media platforms had a part to play in not encouraging risk-taking from young people in particular.

“It is a normal part of adolescence to take risks and [young people] take risks because that helps them to form their identity and figure out who they are," she said.

"Unfortunately, TikTok provides a forum for them to do this but it’s not the healthy risk-taking we would like to see in teenagers.”

In 2018, the NSW police were brought in to stop selfie-takers at Wedding Cake Rock, after concerns were raised that the iconic natural formation would collapse. 

According to a study by the iO Foundation, 379 people were killed while taking selfies around the world between January 2008 and July 2021. This includes Rosy Loomba, a 38-year-old mother-of-two from north Melbourne, who died taking a selfie in the Grampians in 2020.

Despite the increasing numbers of accidental deaths, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in Australia, accounting for 10.1% of all deaths. 

Cover image: Getty

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