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    A man takes a selfie by a crashing wave on Beirut's Corniche, a seaside promenade, as high winds sweep through Lebanon during a storm in this February 11, 2015 file photo.

    Five Popular Hobbies That Can (And Often Do) End Badly

    © REUTERS / Mohamed Azakir/Files
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    Different social phenomena captivate millions of people around the world and often cease to be just a hobby, turning into an obsession. Sometimes they may lead to tragic consequences. Here are some of the most dangerous interactive trends.

    Computer Games

    Computer games increasingly are captivating people's minds and are starting to replace reality. Gamers even forget about basic needs like sleeping, eating and cleaning themselves. Such an enthusiasm has already led to deaths, even in public places.

    In August 10, 2005, a man was "killed" by a computer game for the first time. A 28-year-old South Korean man died in an Internet cafe after playing non-stop for 49 hours. He collapsed after having eaten minimally and not sleeping, refusing to leave his keyboard while he played the battle simulation game Starcraft, which was extremely popular in the country. The cause of death was dehydration, which caused cardiac arrest.

    Similar deaths caused by exhaustion occurred in Taipei, Taiwan. A 38-year-old man was found dead at an Internet cafe on January 1, 2015, after playing video games for five days straight. Later the same month, another man was found dead in another cafe: the 32-year-old man was pronounced dead from cardiac failure due to cold temperatures and over-exhaustion from the long hours spent playing games.

    In August 2013, an eight-year-old boy from Louisiana intentionally shot and killed his 87-year-old grandmother minutes after playing Grand Theft Auto IV, a game rated "M" for mature audiences and recommended for ages 17 and above.

    In March 2015, a 24-year-old Shanghai man dropped dead during a 19-hour marathon gaming session of World of Warcraft. He felt sick and was bleeding from his mouth, but no one paid attention.

    A 48-year-old man, who was one of the top Irish players of online game Ingress, drowned during a late-night mission in Dublin in May 2016. Ingress is an augmented reality game that involves "capturing" landmark buildings, or "portals," for points.

    Governments around the world often blame games manufacturers for such incidents and prohibit dangerous products.


    This harmless, at first glance, invention once caused a number of nervous breakdowns, hysterics and even child suicides worldwide. Tamagotchi are electronic devices that look like an egg, with a program that simulates a pet. Tamagotchi became a hit in the 1990s, selling at a maximum 40 million gadgets per year.

    ​It was necessary to feed, entertain, wash and put to bed the digital pet — just like a real one. If the owner did not manage to do it in time, then the Tamagotchi fell sick and eventually died. Originally, it was conceived as a one-time toy, but after it became clear what kind of pain an electronic pet's death causes, the manufacturer began to produce devices with a reset button to "revive" Tamagotchi.

    A young girl hanged herself after her parents had grounded her, taking her Tamagotchi away from her, only to have it die from lack of care. In another case in 1998, a French driver in Marseille killed a man to save his Tamagotchi. She ran down and killed one cyclist, injuring another, after she took her eyes off the road to attend to her virtual pet.

    GPS Navigation Devices

    Another newfangled device, which spun out of control and instead of serving people started to "manipulate" them, is a GPS navigation device. On the one hand, it is very convenient for drivers, and on the other, it is far from perfect. Many drivers, who blindly trusted the advice of their navigation device, ended up in difficult situations, including accidents.

    In May, a young Canadian woman followed car's GPS directions right into Georgian Bay. The car plunged into the water and quickly sank, but the driver managed to escape through the window and made it safely to shore. And this is not the only case.

    Brazilian police
    It was reported in October 2015 that an elderly couple who intended to visit a touristy avenue in Niteroi, Brazil, entrusted their trip to a navigation device, arrived to another street of the same name in one of the city's most notorious slum areas. Their car was fired on by armed bandits who control the area; the woman was shot and killed and her husband managed to escape.

    In another case, a tourist, relying on the device's data, drove into the underground in Rome. He realized the mistake when the car slid down the stairs, which he thought was a car park entry.


    In attempt to take good photos of themselves, people stand on the very edge of cliffs, climb to the top of the buildings and bridge railings, hug dangerous animals, and often it ends badly.

    In April 2014, a 17-year-old Russian amateur photographer climbed atop a railway bridge in Saint Petersburg to take a selfie. She lost her balance and fell to her death. In another case a 21-year-old man from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, fell into the crater of Mount Merapi while attempting to take a selfie and died in May, 2015. In July 2016 in southern Nepal, a truck driver stopped for a wild herd of 21 elephants crossing the road. The driver exited his vehicle to take a selfie with the animals. The herd attacked and killed the man.

    There are places where tourists periodically put their lives in danger by trying to make a beautiful selfie. For example, in the Croatian Plitvice Lakes Park, a few accidents are registered each week and a series of rescue operations are held.

    A man takes a selfie by a crashing wave on Beirut's Corniche, a seaside promenade, as high winds sweep through Lebanon during a storm in this February 11, 2015 file photo.
    © REUTERS / Mohamed Azakir/Files
    Local authorities often ban selfies, create "no-selfie-zones" and impose a fine for violation of the rules. Running while selfie-ing may seem okay, but selfie-ing while running away from bulls is definitely unsafe. Authorities in Pamplona, which hosts the annual Running of the Bulls, banned selfies and now fine lawbreakers after a few cases when selfie-takers were gored to death.

    India, as of February 2016, had recorded more selfie-related deaths than any other country. Authorities in Mumbai ordered a ban on taking selfies and declared 16 no-selfie zones, after 19 people accidentally killed themselves while taking pictures atop a rock, at Mumbai's Fort and even in a way of a speeding train. In Gujarat, tourists and local residents are recommended not to shoot selfies with lions after three people died doing it.

    The first US state to ban selfies was New York State; but only if you are taking a photo with dangerous big cats.

    Pokémon Go

    And last but not least- the latest craze around the augmented reality game Pokémon Go was launched in July 2016. At first, stories about the active gamer were fun, but now there are more and more troubles the popular app has caused.

    In July, a man in Florida opened fire on two teenagers while they were sitting in a car playing the game; neither were injured. In another accident two men fell off a cliff overlooking the Pacific near San Diego while chasing Pokémon, suffering some injuries.

    Now, it was reported on Thursday that a truck driver in Japan was distracted while playing Pokémon Go and crashed into two elderly pedestrians, killing one of them and severely injuring another. According to the driver, he was so involved in the game that simply did not notice the people.

    Authorities and organizations around the world have expressed concerns about the game and issued warnings asking Pokémon fans to play sensibly. In Malaysia, spiritual authorities banned Muslims living in the country from playing the game.


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    death, Pokemon Go, selfie, navigation, GPS, computer game, danger
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