Face Off: Is it a good idea for public attractions to ban selfie sticks?

Face Off: Is it a good idea for public attractions to ban selfie sticks?

Each week, our teenagers will debate a hot topic. This week ...

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Visitors are told to put away their selfie stick by a staff outside Hong Kong Disneyland.
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP

Bianca Chan, 17, Maryknoll Convent School

I am happy to see selfie sticks barred from Disneyland for good.

No longer do I have to worry about being hit by one on Space Mountain, nor do I have to fear being stuck on a roller coaster that has been stopped when someone is silly enough to use one while on the ride - which is what recently happened at Disney California Adventure.

While I do respect your right to a selfie, forgive me if I prioritise my safety over your desire for the perfect portrait.

I am not alone in the "anti-selfie stick" camp - apart from amusement parks, the list of locations banning the gadgets ranges from sporting events, such as Wimbledon, to festivals like Coachella.

The first reason is straightforward. In a packed sporting stadium with thousands of excited fans, a few selfie sticks can block the view of those in back row seats.

Most of the audience members who have paid to see their favourite sporting hero would be disappointed if all they could see was the mobile phone reflections of other equally disappointed fans.

The second reason lies with the nature of selfie-sticks - they are unwieldy and likely to cause accidents.

It is not unusual to see individuals walking with their selfie stick hovering above their head, with their eyes only on the phone screen.

Now imagine a self-obsessed person wandering in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (which has also banned selfie-sticks), with the clunky metal rod constantly extended away from them. All it would take is one accidental push for the pole to slash through an Impressionist painting, or damage a fragile sculpture.

The fun of taking a selfie used to come from challenging the limits of our limbs and trying to squeeze everything in. If we cannot reach it, we shouldn't take the photo.

In the meantime, please use your extendable gadget in private where it does not become a nuisance to others - or else selfie sticks will just be "selfish sticks".


Michelle Fasching, 18, Community College of City University

Ever seen a group of people holding up what looks to be a stick with a phone attached to the end, and posing?

That gadget, for those who have been living under a rock for the past two years, is a selfie stick. While the sight of people using selfie sticks in public is undeniably odd, it definitely isn't disruptive enough to justify a ban at public attractions.

The polite usage of selfie sticks heavily depends on user judgment. While those who whip them out at a crowded concert may poke a few people in the eye, the case isn't the same at public attractions.

In fact, public attractions can often be rather appropriate places to use a selfie stick - if it's a place where people are expected to take photos.

If the venue isn't crowded, why shouldn't visitors be allowed to use their selfie stick to take a good, wide angle shot of both themselves, and the landmark behind them?

Some venues ban selfie sticks because they claim it can be used as a weapon. Well, a selfie stick poses the same danger as a foldable umbrella. Unless they are also banning umbrellas in public attractions, banning the selfie stick just doesn't make sense.

Furthermore, some places seem to ban the selfie stick just because of the bad press of selfies themselves. People say things like "I've lost all hope in this generation" just because they see taking selfies as vain.

But think about it, is a click of a phone camera more vain than the vast amount of time and money some spend getting your own portrait painted? Because, let's face it, the Louvre is just filled with Renaissance rich-people selfies.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Is it a good idea for public attractions to ban selfie sticks?

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