When I wrote my post last July asking if social media is causing our children to lose their compassion, I couldn’t have predicted anything like this kid (22 years old but still a kid) posting a video of a dead body from a suicide forest in Japan on YouTube. It wasn’t even that which was the worst part; supposedly once he saw it he started making jokes about it (I’ve refused to watch it but I feel like I know everything about it).
This is a story that, oddly enough got worse later on but for a much different reason. Although YouTube decided to suspend him (a week after he pulled the video himself from his channel), his subscribers jumped almost 3 million higher than the 15 million already following his antics. It turns out the majority of his fans are young kids who, for some “unknown reason” (bad parenting) can’t figure out why the overwhelming majority of us think showing a suicide victim’s body and making jokes about it is wrong.
His father (a man in his 40’s) also came out saying his son didn’t do anything wrong and that the rest of us are being overly sensitive. I guess it’s easy to support your kid when he’s making millions of dollars a year and presumably giving some to his obviously dirt bag family (yeah, I went there).
Before I go any further, let me share this video from a lady named Tara Hunt, who knows a thing or two about social media:
The first comment I got on the first link I shared above came from my friend Mitchell Allen. He said this:
I don’t blame social media any more than I blame MTV, Dungeons and Dragons or multiple body piercings. It’s a part of our society, like guns and rat poison and apple pie and baseball and honeybees. Everything exists in a neutral state until someone decides to use it for good or evil.
I actually don’t blame social media; I blame parents. I also blame society because it’s what groomed the parents, who then groomed other parents, who then groomed children. Society grooms all of us in some way; social media makes it easier to gain an audience, and one of its biggest drivers is bad or stupid behavior.
There isn’t a parent or person alive who hasn’t seen a lot of behavior that we as adults are questioning these days. Massive numbers of kids bullying other kids online. Kids doing truth or dare stunts that are shocking and dangerous. People doing prank videos they think are funny that turn out to be cruel and inhumane, even against their own children.
Why? As Tara says, it’s because they’re trying to get likes and subscribers, because more of each gives them both fame and a little bit of fortune. While I’m making maybe one or two dollars a month at best on YouTube, many of the people on these channels are making thousands, without a regard for whether or not it’s the proper thing to do.
As my friend Mitch said, all of it can’t be blamed on social media. I was once at a local seminar, and during a break one of the ladies there, in her early 30’s, was complaining that the school and teachers wouldn’t allow her daughter to have her cellphone with her in class. Her belief was that as the mother, she had every right to call her daughter at any time, no matter where she was, and that her daughter should have the right to call her, even if it was during class.
In my post from March 2017 titled 9 Things People Do Wrong On Social Media, I highlighted behaviors people are doing on social media that they need to stop doing. What I didn’t add is that most of these are things people are doing off social media. With all the talk these days around the world about sexual harassment (it’s not just Hollywood people), bigotry and racism, it’s obviously more of a societal problem than a social media issue, and it’s not even a new issue.
We may not be able to run or hide from social media, but we can control the effects it has on us and our children. Trying being a nice person; teach your kids to be nice people also. Maybe together we can change society, and be extension social media, to be better.