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Rooftopping: The Dangerous Selfie Trend

Image: Tom Ryaboi

Should YouTube ban rooftopping videos?

Chinese rooftop climber Wu Yongning died recently after falling from a 62-storey building in China's Hunan province.  The daredevil had thousands of followers across a number of social media channels.

His death was caught on camera, placed by himself, and as chilling as it is to watch, it does offer a stark reminder as to just how dangerous the hobby of rooftopping is. .

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term,  rooftopping involves climbing extremely tall buildings, cranes and bridges, without safety equipment. The use of safety equipment detracts from the experience, thus making it pointless to many climbers.  But as we all know, just one slip could end it all in seconds.

The main motivation for many climbers is the amount view they could potentially gain on YouTube, and it seems many rooftoppers are willing to go the extra mile in order to create the best videos. The more views and subscribers you get, the higher your status.


Rooftopping is now one of the most watched and followed subjects on YouTube, and it is easy to see why. For the viewer, it's like watching a car crash - you want to turn away, but you just can't.  It's hard to watch these types of videos without getting sweaty palms.

The main question is: Why do people do this dangerous act? And the answer to that is simple - for the rooftoppers that aren't just after internet views and status, it's about the rush and adrenaline.  It's about living life on the edge, quite literally, and it makes them feel alive.

Many of you might assume that you'd need to be comfortabe with heights to do such a hobby - but in reality this is not the case.  Many people actually became rooftoppers in order to conquer their fear of heights.


We caught up with rooftopper Kyle Johnson who explained "I started rooftopping to conquer my fear of heights, by gradually building up the height.  Now I am at a point where I trust myself and know my body and its limits. Safety should always come first when doing such a potentially dangerous activity, and not just for the sake of views and status."

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