Is your selfie obsession distracting you?

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

Selfie here, selfie there: selfies are all over the Internet.  Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, everywhere you turn, you see people taking pictures of themselves – everywhere they go. The “I’m-going-to-take-a-picture-of-myself” obsession has become a phenomenon. People take selfies when they’re hiking, when they’re cooking, when they’re working, and even while they’re driving. We have all heard about the dangers of distracted driving, whether it’s talking on the phone while you’re on the road, texting and driving, or now, even taking selfies while you’re operating a car. Well, distracted driving doesn’t just end with vehicles. 

Recently, a plane crash was attributed to a pilot taking pictures with his camera, most notably with himself and his passenger. The crash happened in Colorado and killed the two people on board the aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a report last week, “It is likely that cellphone use during the accident flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control.” The pilot’s GoPro recordings showed that the pilot and passengers were taking selfies with their cellphones and that the flash functions on the camera were on. The Department of Transportation reports that distracted driving has been a issue in over 3,000 deaths in the United States alone and about a tenth of those have been because of cell phones. (1)

Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration banned all use of personal electronic devices in the cockpit, but this does not apply to private pilots. Even so, it is still a common occurrence to see pictures mid-air from commercial pilots, and private pilots are no exception when it comes to using electronic devices. Many of them use cellphones or tablets to not just take pictures, but to navigate courses, plan flights, or to view upcoming weather reports. 

Distracted driving, and even distracted flying, can cause horrendous things – accidents, injuries, and in some cases, death. Put your phone or tablet completely out of reach when you are driving. Taking your eyes off what is in front of you for even one second can change your life completely, or the life of an innocent person. 

Technology addiction is very real. If you or someone you know struggles with addiction to video games, social media, or you can’t part with your smart phone for even shorts amount of time, seek help immediately. 


1. Turkewitz, Julie, PÉrez-PeÑa, Richard. “Regulatos Cite a New Danger in the Skies: Selfies.” NY Times. February 3, 2015.  Accessed February 4, 2015.