Dubai family inconsolable after girl's selfie death

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Dubai - A relative at the spot said the family hails from Afghanistan and that the girl will be laid to rest in Dubai.

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Mon 28 Oct 2019, 6:40 PM

The father of a 16-year-old girl - who fell to death while attempting to take a selfie from the balcony of a highrise in Dubai on Saturday - kept breaking down as friends and family stopped by to offer their condolences. When Khaleej Times visited the Kharbash Tower on the Sheikh Zayed Road on Sunday, the father could be seen being comforted by relatives outside the building.
A relative at the spot said the family hails from Afghanistan and that the girl will be laid to rest in Dubai.
The girl's sister, who saw the tragedy unfold, told the police the victim was standing on a chair in her 17th floor balcony as she tried to take a selfie when she fell.
Though this is the first such case reported in the country, deaths caused by reckless selfies, or 'killfies' as they are known, have been on the rise around the globe. Naomi D'Souza, a lifestyle influencer with over 86,000 Instagram followers, lives in the same building as the girl and her family. "I am so disturbed because I was at the spot shortly after it happened. I was going out from the back of the building at 1pm and saw the body, which was covered," D'Souza, who's popularly known for her @naomi_dsouza Instagram page, told Khaleej Times. "Initially, I didn't know the victim was a 16-year-old girl."
The youth think it is "fine to do risky stunts to take the perfect shot". "It's really a tragic incident and my prayers are with the family," the social media influencer added.
That perfect selfie kids see online is staged: Influencers
UAE-based social media influencers have spoken out about the pressure that users face to getting the "perfect selfie".
Lavina Israni, a blogger with over 69,000 Instagram followers, said children and young adults are unable to distinguish between reality and staged content online. She feels its important to raise awareness that "majority of the content published on Instagram is staged or manipulated" by using advanced editing soft wares.
"Yet another unfortunate incident reminds us how fragile life really is. My heartfelt condolences go out to all the people who have lost someone dear to them in an accident that could have been prevented. Instagram does not give an accurate picture of reality and we need to learn how to treat most of the content online like fiction," she said.
"Children and young adults consuming content of this nature are easily influenced into believing that these fake photos are actually reality. This makes them take drastic, life-endangering actions such as standing on a high rise balcony to get the perfect shot or selfie while unknowingly risking their lives. Reckless content creators who do not disclose that their images are manipulated are partly responsible for this horrifying behaviour."
Another influencer, Sana Chikhalia, said that "Instagram is not a real world" and users should not "make it your everything".
"It is extremely unfortunate that this incident happened and as a blogger I would like to tell all the people who aspire to get that perfect picture not to risk your lives for a few likes or comments. I have seen people go on the edge of a cliff or climb buildings without any safety and it's not worth risking your life. Likes don't matter as much as your precious life," Chikhalia said. "Even bloggers need to be careful of what they post online as they influence a lot of young adults out there."

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