Selfie Sticks may have been on the list of Time magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2014. Now, less then one year and millions of social media posted snaps later, people who take selfies will no longer be able to use the sticks at popular tourist and entertainment sites as they are now banned from Disney theme parks, many sports events, countless museums, concert venues and more places.
The selfie just became an international cultural phenomenon merely a year ago. The word itself was just added to many dictionaries in 2013 and 2014, including the American Heritage and Oxford Dictionaries. It did not take long, however, for a good idea to turn bad and selfie sticks to become selfish safety hazards.
The market – and safety issues – grew quickly. When people kept reaching arms further out to take group selfies or capture little things in the background like the Louvre Pyramid, It’s a Small World ride building or rock group on stage, an industry and product category was born – the selfie stick. (For those who have yet to literally bump into one, a selfie stick is a monopod or rod attached to a smartphone or traditional camera that holds the phone further than arm’s length to take a picture of oneself or a group. Some sophisticated ones even have Bluetooth capabilities to let the holder take the photo when ready.
Versions for regular cameras have existed for decades, but the urge to take one’s own picture constantly did not. One version was patented in 2005, another went on sale in 2012, but last year the market exploded with many companies launching various designs to meet the burgeoning demand for what some sarcastically started calling the “Narcisstick.” But, last year’s hot holiday gift is this year’s most vilified vacation accessory.
In amusement parks and places with animals, the issue has been safety. For example, this week at Disney’s California Adventure park, a roller coaster had to be stopped for safety reasons after a passenger pulled out their selfie stick. That incident and others have led Disney to announce that selfie sticks will soon be prohibited at all of its theme parks worldwide. The ban starts in the U.S. at the traditional theme parks like Disneyland on June 3o as well as their water parks and DisneyQuest gaming attraction. They will be banned in Hong Kong and Paris starting July 1.
Disney’s action follows Universal Orlando, which banned them in places at their Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks. To date, they have not announced a prohibition parkwide or in their other parks worldwide. SeaWorld allows selfie sticks in the company’s facilities but not on rides or near animal habitats.
Selfie sticks have also been banned from some public places, such as museums, sports stadiums and concerts for obstructing views (as well as the potential for hitting something or someone). Some of the museums that have banned selfie sticks include New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Palace of Versailles in France, London’s National Gallery, and the Smithsonian Institution museums in Washington, D.C. They were not allowed at the Kentucky Derby, English Premier League soccer stadiums and both the Coachella and Lollapalooza music festivals this year. Undoubtedly, however, selfie sticks will soon be or are already being banned at many more events and places, like other amusement parks besides the Disney ones.
Written and edited by Dyanne Weiss
Los Angeles Times: Disney World will ban selfie-sticks from its theme parks
TIME: The 25 Best Inventions of 2014
CNN: Disney bans selfie sticks over safety fears
Slate: Disney Theme Parks Bring the Tyranny, Danger of Selfie Sticks to an End
Taipei Times: Disney to ban selfie sticks at parks over safety fears
PC World: Disney gets sick of selfie sticks, bans them from its parks
Photo Courtesy of Larry Miller’s Flickr Page – Public Domain License