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Hawaii Adapts Itself to a Selfie-Obsessed Society

People's vision of paradise often includes a couple palm trees, a perfect sunset and, of course, themselves.

Ina Fried

Selfies are big everywhere, of course. But they are really big in Hawaii.

Head to any beach, luau or lookout spot and you will find a crowd of people trying to capture a bit of scenic beauty mixed with no small measure of themselves.

Ina Fried

Just how deep does the obsession go? Well, “selfie stick” was the most googled search term in Hawaii.

The Sheraton at Waikiki has gone so far as to label different places around its grounds as “selfie spots,” while this year’s Christmas sand castle there features two people taking a selfie in addition to Santa wearing a lei.

There is a downside to all this self-encapsulation. People are taking their phones everywhere. The captain of the Holole a Kai snorkel catamaran says he sees several phones a week that are lost overboard as tourists can’t resist keeping their phones stowed away while cruising around.

Ina Fried

Nor is losing a phone the worst of it. People are walking into each other and, on occasion, falling to their deaths trying to make their portrait just so.

One British selfie addict was spending 10 hours a day trying to capture the perfect selfie before becoming suicidal after failing to capture that perfect moment.

“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t I wanted to die,” Britain’s Danny Bowman told the Mirror last year. “I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life.”

Even where it isn’t deadly to person or phone, experts say that taking such pictures can become an obsession.

Dr. David Veal, whose clinic treated Bowman, told the Mirror that selfie obsession has become a recognized mental health issue.

“Danny’s case is particularly extreme,” Veal said. “But this is a serious problem. It’s not a vanity issue. It’s a mental health one which has an extremely high suicide rate.”

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