Safety first – activist suggests teaching children to make risk-free selfies

RIA Novosti/Alexey Malgavko
A public movement suggests extracurricular lessons of “safe selfies” in Russian schools to bring down the growing number of accidents caused by the new fad.

The organizer of the “For Security” group, Dmitry Kurdesov, told popular daily Izvestia that he and his colleagues had prepared an appeal to the Education Ministry with the request to aid them in introducing the “safe selfie lessons.” He claimed that the course program had been prepared together with police and professional photographers.

The recent accidents in which people suffer from ‘unsafe selfies’ have become frequent. We must teach people from childhood that easy ways to success are dangerous,” Kurdesov told reporters.

The activist said that the safe selfie lessons would be organized in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg already this year from September 1, and expressed hope that the initiative would soon spread nationwide. He also suggested that the authorities impose fines on those who pursue dangerous hobbies like roof climbing.

The Education Ministry has been skeptical about the suggestion. Its press service told Izvestia that Russian schools already head a separate course on “safe living” that included tips on handling various objects, including modern electronic devices.

A professional psychiatrist said in comments to Izvestia that making selfies was a symptom of a mental illness caused by severe lack of attention from parents. By making pictures of themselves children compensate for lack of parental attention, at least for a short time, the specialist said, adding that kids from happy families are not usually fond of selfies. The psychiatrist concluded that saving children from dangerous safety was the work for doctors and not for police or photographers.

A Moscow school director suggested that the movement exercised their teaching not in classes but in city parks so that children could learn the safe selfie making in their free time.

READ MORE: Russian public movement seeks 'anti-troll' police, fines for fake accounts

This spring several children and teenagers all over Russia sustained injuries when attempting to shoot a selfie. The ways of self-harm included electrocution and falls from high places. One girl accidentally shot herself in the head with a rubber bullet when posing for a selfie with a pistol.

The “For Security” movement gained notoriety in April when its leader asked the Interior Ministry to institute special “anti-troll” police that would prosecute internet users for threats, insults or creating fake accounts.