The Real Selfie Stick “Crime” That Needs To Be Addressed…

Filed Under: Travel

Over the past few years we’ve seen selfie sticks become common. As a matter of fact they’ve become so common that many tourist attractions have had to ban them.

In theory I see why people like selfie sticks. In theory. It’s great to be able to take a selfie and get a tourist site in the background rather than asking others to take the picture for you (after all, that doesn’t always end well, as I’ve learned the hard way).

However, lately I’ve been noticing a selfie stick trend, and it’s driving me bonkers. We explored Angkor Wat in Cambodia yesterday, and there were a lot of people using selfie sticks. Fair enough.


However, what amazed me was how mindlessly people were using them:

  • A vast majority of people seemed to be using selfie sticks to take pictures of things in front of them, rather than taking selfies
  • My favorite were the people who had their selfie sticks fully extended to take pictures of things in front of them, but they wanted a wider angle view; rather than taking the phone off the selfie stick or at least retracting the selfie stick, the stick was three feet behind them, and they weren’t watching if it hit anyone


So, why do I care/why is this so damn annoying? Because suddenly you have a bunch of people walking with a three foot stick in front of or behind them. Dodging people at tourist sites can be difficult enough already, without the challenge of so many people walking around with a three foot stick that they’re not even using correctly.

Have you noticed this selfie stick trend, and if so, can you make sense of it?

  1. You have hit the nail on the head! Last month, my husband and I traveled through Europe and I think we took 3 times as many pictures as we normally would have because inevitably 2 of the 3 would have someone’s selfie stick.

  2. Welcome to Asia lol. I just push the sticks aside if they so much as get near my face. Don’t care if the people get pissed they need to learn proper etiquette.

  3. I could not get near the Merlion in Singapore because of the busloads of people with selfie sticks trying to take of ‘clever pic’ of them catching the Merlion water. I saw your pic of the Merlion and I looked for all the selfie sticks. When I was there in June, it was mobbed and it was easy to get poked with selfie sticks.

  4. I hate selfie sticks. They should be banned. A stupid idea that unfortunately has caught on like wildfire. I travel a lot and I find when I take photos there is always some idiot with a selfie stick in my photos. Please… no more.

  5. Like someone said, welcome to Asia! I got one and they are handy but people should be aware that they can be in the way. When I was in Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year fireworks show, there was so many selfie sticks that I couldn’t see much ahead of me. Get this, I am a tall guy that tower over most people in HK. Those selfie stick do make me feel shorter. I got a few pictures of it and I laugh every time I see it. I just hope they don’t catch on in USA. It’s more of an Asia things and I hope it stay that way.

  6. I’ve seen a lot of selfie stick abuse but perhaps the larger problem is the proliferation of photo moments in general. People need to put the phone down and just take in the moment. I have friends who spent ten days on vacation and came home with three thousand photos! Instead of capturing the moment it seems forfeited in the photo chores.

  7. Agreed. Another “crime” is that the resolution/sensor on most front-facing phone cameras is much worse than the one on the back, often by 50% or more. The great selfie that people have worked so hard to compose is often full of noise (if the lighting is not ideal) or blurry (poor focus and/or grime on the lens due to the front of the phone being constantly pressed against the head). This is easily observed when you examine the picture on a decent-sized monitor or TV (I see it all the time when viewing social media on my desktop PC). There are apps that will automatically snap the rear camera when a smile is detected (so you can use a selfie stick) OR *shudder* you can do it the old fashioned way and ask someone to take your picture. Most people are familiar with iPhone or Android cameras, although admittedly a stranger’s composition skills may not always be up to snuff. I suppose that quality doesn’t matter to the crowd that only cares about FB/Instagram pics, but if you are visiting a place where you may not return, why not take the extra steps to capture the moment right?

  8. We were at the Angkor Smile show in Siem Rep this past Saturday night. After numerous announcements and women walking the theatre with lighted signs saying no photos or videos one woman in the third row used a selfie stick to repeatedly take flash photos. Even going so far as to turn around in her seat, extend the selfie stick above the person sitting behind her and then snap a selfie with the show in progress. Agree the selfie sticks at Angkor Wat are a pain. But, the locals in Siem Rep are genuinely warm and friendly.

  9. If its not too late try and get to some of the smaller temples. No crowds and much more peaceful. Enjoy Cambodia, its a wonderful place.

  10. Get one yourself so you can sword-fight with those who aren’t using it properly.

  11. A selfie stick is just a tool. If you have people who are not considered of others, the problem is with those people and not the tool itself. Instead of thinking “ban this immediately” try thinking about educating these people at least. People with this “ban everything I don’t like” mentality are not to far away from the crowd with selfie sticks as they are only thinking about themselves. I don’t really care about selfie sticks but it’s a common trend with many things.

  12. A great eye-opener for those that might think traveling all around the world in First Class-style is always a sweet ride. Sobering stuff here. Stay safe and hang in there.

  13. @Donna

    That always seems an incredibly arrogant and pompous point to make! I enjoy taking photographs. When I take a good photograph it makes me happy. Thanks for your concern but taking a few photos (which is what the vast majority of people do) doesn’t ruin my enjoyment of a place.

    I will agree some people are slightly ridiculous though. It’s becoming more of a trend (particularly/exclusively with East Asians) to hold out your phone in front of you and film literally everything you do – even just walking down the street. I do wonder what on Earth these people are doing with hour upon hour of shaky video (everyone I see makes no effort to hold it steady or frame the image) showing brief glimpses of everything around them without commentary. I hope they’re not inflicting this on family members back home! To each their own though.

  14. I just returned from Hong Kong Disneyland. It seemed like everyone in Hong Kong has a selfie stick. But there is a selfie stick ban in not just Disneyland Hong Kong, but all Disney Parks world wide.
    Why? A park guest tried use their selfie stick on one of the park’s rides. So Disney used the shotgun approach and banned their use in all six of their parks.
    Harsh! A little. But Disney theme parks can become tight quarters for their guests on certain holidays. A selfie stick portrait with even 10 participants during those days is obstructive.

  15. Well I was in Hawaii last week and there were tons of selfie sticks. And I see them in Europe too… It’s definitely not a “Asia” thing now.

  16. It’s no worse than dealing with people who wear gigantic backpacks and bang into people as they turn around because they’re too stupid to remember that their backpack is sticking out 10″ behind them.

  17. I was hiking above Zurich and had my first run-in with a selfie-drone. This couple had a quad-copter hovering over them to film them at the top of the hill. Great view nearly ruined by the pretty darn loud buzzing. People too often don’t think how their actions impact others.
    I’m not a fan of selfie sticks, but it’s always because some people just wave them around and hit whatever is in the way.

  18. I’ve gotten to where I absolutely hate selfie sticks.

    At first, I thought it was silly to ban them but after traveling to so many sites where the place is just inundated with careless tourists, I’m over it. I think the Vatican was the worst of them all.

  19. I live in Chicago, and tourists love to take selfie stick photos on the bridges, with the river and the lock to the lake in the background. Awesome photo! Except you’re standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk, blocking the whole thing with your long selfie stick. While it’s nice that you’re on vacation and can just hang around idly, most of us are trying to get somewhere! Unfortunately the railing on the bridge is too high for anyone to accidentally fall into the river looking for that ‘perfect’ shot’

  20. I take photos to capture a moment, I don’t need to be in those photos will never ever buy a selfie stick

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