In a world where Instagram likes can equal dollar signs, it's no surprise that influencers and bloggers will go the extra mile for the perfect shot.
Social media stars are often called out for their Facetuned photos and perfectly curated feeds, but when safety is put at risk, the conversation shifts. Raquel and Miguel, a young Portuguese couple who go by the username explorerssaurus_ on Instagram, are being criticized after posting a photo of themselves leaning out of a moving train.
The image shows Miguel kissing Raquel's forehead as they hang out of a train running through the town of Ella, Sri Lanka. Though they claim that the train was slow-moving, the backlash to this seemingly dangerous Instagram stunt is building, and the comments section of the image calls them out for being irresponsible.
One user commented: “I’m 99% sure it’s not the slow-moving train that is the problem. It’s the fact that there’s a giant ravine below. One slip of the hand or foot and the couple are both dead. All for a pretty picture…"
Fellow commenters chimed in to share their concerns and frustrations, many warning that their young audience might be swayed to attempt similar stunts. One pleaded: "This is so dangerous - you are a really bad example for kids! Some people can die trying to do stuff like this. Take this photo down!!!!"
On the other hand, some users commended the pair's bravery and adventurous lifestyle. "You only live once. Great shot...I say worth it," one said. Another shared an opinion based on personal experience: "I've been on the trains in Sri Lanka...These trains don't move fast, they are open air and super easy and fun to do shots like these. Not even risky in my book as you're holding on to a firm handle."
Regardless of what actually took place when the photo was snapped or the risks involved, it's been proven that more and more people are putting themselves in danger in the name of likes. A study published by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care (JFPMC) in 2018 found that between 2011 and 2017, there have been 137 incidents in which 259 people have died while taking selfies. Let's not forget the travel YouTubers who died in July 2018 after attempting a dangerous waterfall excursion in Canada. Similar stories are cropping up in worrisome numbers, and clearly, something must be done to prevent future incidents.
The JFPMC study concludes that "no selfie zones" should be established in tourist areas, especially those near bodies of water, mountains, and tall buildings, to help curb instances of injury or death for a photo. Some areas have already adapted such regulations, but hopefully, more will follow suit.