Russia Made a Safe Selfie Guide Because People Keep Dying While Taking Them


Over in Russia, people are risking their lives taking dangerous photos with tigers and on top of buildings, and they've finally caught the attention of the government. On Tuesday, the former USSR released a guide instructing its citizens on how to take safer selfies. Pertinent tips include avoiding taking selfies while on staircases, roofs, the tops of trains, power lines and mountains, as well as in boats and, yes, in front of big cats.

On the Roofs/YouTube
On the Roofs/YouTube

The overwhelming message, it appears, is to take selfie safety seriously: "Your health and your life are worth more than a million likes on social networks," reads the document, according to a translation courtesy of Mashable.

The government hosted a press conference to discuss the campaign, and they're even soliciting feedback from citizens to get a sense of how it's working.

Here's a look at the guide:

Russian Interior Ministry

The selfie deaths are real: It may sound like a bizarre parody of modern life (or an article in the Onion), but the guide is rooted in some sobering statistics. The Associated Press reports that according to Russian police, "at least 10 Russians have been killed and 100 injured while taking selfies this year." In April 2014, a teenage girl was killed after trying to take a selfie on top of a railway bridge; on Saturday, a 21-year-old woman fell to her death while attempting to take a selfie on top of a bridge in Moscow.

"Each of these cases could have been prevented ...  When a person is trying to take a picture of themselves, they become distracted, lose their balance, they don't look around and don't feel in danger," Mashable's translation reads.

"When taking a selfie, be sure that you are in a safe place and your life is not in danger!" it adds.

Given that Russian dash cam videos — as well as gut-wrenching footage of Russian teenagers climbing extremely tall structures with next to no safety gear — are overwhelmingly popular on YouTube, it's perhaps not surprising the country's government is attempting to herd selfie takers away from dangerous scenarios.

"Along with the advantages of the modern world there are also new threats," Russian police spokeswoman Yelena Alexeyeva told the Associated Press. "We want to remind citizens that the pursuit of 'likes' in social media can put them on the road to death."