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The Russian Government Wants Your Selfies to Be Safe

The Russian government wants your selfies to be safe! Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot

The Russian government wants your selfies to be safe! Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot

You might think of selfies as a fun thing you do, or at least as an annoying, but generally harmless pastime (unless someone is waving that selfie stick too close to our faces!). But the Russian government is so concerned with the risks posed by Russian citizens taking selfies that it's calling together a federal video conference to raise awareness of the issue.

Russian media have reported on several cases of smartphone users getting hurt while posing for a selfie, the most recent case being that of a young woman who reportedly fell to her death on July 4 trying to take a photo of herself with friends on an overpass bridge in Moscow. This case and several others that resulted in fatalities have led the Russian Interior Ministry to voice its alarm over the practice. To alert Russians to the problem and to discuss possible solutions, the Ministry plans to hold a videoconference with its regional offices titled “The Safe Selfie” on July 7, 2015, a Ministry representative told TASS.

В МВД России обеспокоены участившимися случаями, когда человек травмируется или гибнет при попытке сделать уникальное селфи, ведь каждый из них можно было предотвратить. Селфи могут запомниться и удивить и без риска для жизни.

The Russian Interior Ministry is concerned about the growing number of cases when a person gets hurt or dies whilst trying to take a unique selfie—each of these cases could have been prevented. Selfies can be memorable and surprising without risking your life.

Selfie-taking has been on the radar of Russian news media, with several cases of selfie-takers getting seriously hurt or even dying after climbing tall buildings, touching electric wiring, or otherwise risking their safety. Some stories about selfies, however, are on the lighter side, such as the incident in Kemerovo region in June, where a drunk resident broke apart a statue of Lenin while trying to pose for a selfie with it.

In earlier efforts to educate children about safe selfie taking, Saint Petersburg schools introduced a lesson on safety in mobile photography practices as part of their annual Unified Information Day, to be held in October 2015 after the start of the school year. Because selfies are often taken to be posted on social networks, organizers believe they're an important part of overall Internet safety training.

Although the Russian Interior Ministry has warned of the hazard selfies can pose, in November 2014 it asked law enforcement officers from across Russia to send in selfies with their mothers as a way to celebrate Mother's Day and to “help improve public trust” in law enforcement. Photo albums created by the Ministry on the Odnoklassniki social network and on the official Ministry website showcased hundreds of photo entries.

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