World Society And Social Media

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).

kids and social media


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 Mitchell 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.

19 thoughts on “World Society And Social Media”

  1. Hi Mitch!

    (thanks for the shout out!)

    My wife and I were discussing something similar: foolish kids putting Tide pods in their mouths on a dare. We can’t put this one on parents; I’m sure most of these kids “know” better, but we think it might be peer pressure in some cases.

    On the other points, parenting, society and to some extent, the “evolution” of narcissism all share the responsibility for turning our Internet Age into something like an episode of Black Mirror.


    1. Hey Mitch, that was the 2nd thing I linked to in the article; it’s hard to believe people are that stupid. Of course you know I have no idea what Black Mirror is, but if it’s like what’s in this article I can imagine I wouldn’t like it. 🙂

  2. Hi Mitch, seems to me that YouTube was a little soft on the guy. I would have deleted his account altogether. He should be made an example of so other folk will be more careful of what they post.

    Did you know that other Youtubers were posting the very video he deleted?

    1. No I didn’t; what the heck were they thinking? Oh right, then weren’t! I just don’t understand people; it’s like they can’t imagine how they’d feel if it was their family member. I abhor the loss of empathy; sigh…

  3. Social media does not make monsters of us all. It simply enables the monsters to find one another, faster. It emboldens them to speak louder and more openly. It’s time we speak as loudly and as openly against this ugliness; it takes courage, but our silence is always construed by them as consent – or submission, at any rate.

    At the risk of sounding very #NotAllParents – I really do think that while parents are a key factor in how kids turn out, the “village” (and all its idiots) are also to blame.

    If you’re bothered by a 22 year old filming bodies in something called a “suicide forest,” then you don’t know kids. Why do you think “Wanna see a dead body?” is such a famous line from the movie “Stand By Me”? Some people need to look their fears in the eye. They know, subconsciously, that the dead can’t hurt them. And morbid humor is actually a pretty normal way for some to cope with fear and grief and death. His new subscribers are hoping for another view of the gruesome, grotesque, or macabre.

    Mitch, why are people fascinated by mummified bodies in museums? Not so very long ago, the dead were laid out in their families’ parlors for a few days. Washed, dressed, strewn with herbs and flowers. Now children (and adults!) are so sheltered from this reality of life that it’s a bit terrifying, rather than being seen as a normal end that we ALL will experience eventually. How about this: And, look up Caitlin Doughty on the Web and Facebook (or search for “Order of the Good Death”) – for some the most cheerfully macabre stories imaginable from a woman mortician. To a point, it’s healthy to demystify death.

    I think that where this young man went wrong wasn’t in showing “inappropriate content” to minors (those minors’ parents are responsible for allowing them to watch YouTube, unsupervised, at all). Where he went terribly WRONG was in exploiting others’ very real pain, not extending empathy to the family of the deceased, not thinking ahead to those wider repercussions. Consider that many people the age of this young man haven’t ever lost someone and even if they did, our society is so divorced from the reality of death that they are probably incapable of real empathy. Or, on the flip side, maybe he knew someone who committed suicide. Anger easily gets wrapped around the axle of grief. Those left behind may not be too sensitive to “exploitation of the dead” under such circumstances.

    But humans have ALWAYS had a fascination with these things. There are whole museums dedicated to the morbid, the grotesque, the gruesome, the macabre, and the downright “freakish” aspects of life. Google “Mütter Museum”. We need to get over our prudishness about some of these things, but at the same time, we ought to be more respectful – these are/were human beings with grieving family, friends, or strangers who share similar tragic circumstances. While it’s quite understandable to be curious and want to look, it’s also unkind to gawk, laugh, or ridicule. (Or, at least, to invite the world to do so on YouTube!)

    Forget “likes,” “subscribers,” or even “money.” These things are all a pale substitute for other peoples’ time and attention. My mom majored in psychology, and often pointed out that for an attention-starved child, negative attention would do, in the absence of positive attention. That’s all those “likes,” “subscribers,” and “money” represent for most of them – ATTENTION. I think that the term “attention whore” is a bit extreme and unfair; someone in NEED of attention will likely indulge in more and more outrageous attention-seeking behavior until they get it.

    We can all think of worse examples than this boy, surely.

    If the elderly sometimes need training wheels to use the Internet safely, why do so many parents assume it’s a safe, electronic babysitter to entertain their children and substitute for attention? But many people my age (parents of young adults) had little or no experience, themselves, in using the Internet. Social media platforms were just emerging when our kids were teens. I had a bit of an advantage – I used social media as far back as 1981. Did that prepare me, perfectly, for raising what they call a “digital native”? No. We didn’t have it when I was a TEEN, so my experience was different from that of my kids.

    It’s very fair, in my opinion, to blame society. It takes a village to raise a child. Our village is full of idiots (some ARE the parents, others seem to live to undermine the parents; some ARE teachers, others live to undermine the teachers). But it’s definitely a partnership. My kids may be caring for you when you’re old. Everyone has a vested interest in kids growing up to be well-educated, kind, considerate, and compassionate adults.

    1. It’s about time I got to this; I’m behind because of “things”, which includes being a little bit sick lol

      We agree on the first part of what you said; that’s why I included “society” into all of this. Yet I still blame parents more than society; after all, you and I didn’t take on the foibles of society but more from our parents. I’m not saying my parents taught me to be everything I am, but they did teach me about independent thought and not going along with the masses “just because”. I tend to believe it’s weak minded people who go along with things they might not want to; yeah, I said it!

      I’ve never seen the movie Stand By Me so the reference is lost on me. I’ve also never seen a mummy in a museum. I go out of my way to stay away from dead bodies; I think I’ve experienced fewer than 5 in my life, 3 of those in hospitals and 2 at funerals. I don’t remember a single joke about any of them.

      This article wasn’t about him, although it could have been about his family. I kept thinking he looked familiar, and then I realized he has a younger brother who’s also quite popular online and looks a lot like him. He does the same kind of stupid stuff, and the father supports both of them. Once again, this is a great example of parents supporting their kids bad behavior; in this case because they’re making millions. At least 90% of the time (made up statistic lol) it’s the fault or circumstances of the parents that leads to this kind of “privileged” (stupid) behavior. This article kind of explains it, although it still gives parents an “out”:

      So yes, I blame parents first, but I also blame society. I don’t really blame social media since I believe people are what they are and social media only helps to enhance it. That so much bad behavior gets so much attention speaks to how bad we as a society have become. That’s somewhat depressing, but it explains so much.

  4. I don’t know Holly, I think that society is to blame a little because way to often people will sit on their hands and do nothing when they see others doing things that they consider as inappropriate.

    Even Google should have done more to punish this guy and yet they chose not to. Is it because they’re more concerned about the potential earning they could lose. You can bet your bottom dollar if Mitch or I did something like that we would be history.

  5. Peter, re-read my comment! I did NOT say that society wasn’t to blame. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    I’m not sure that Google should have done more to punish the guy. I did not see the original video, but can easily imagine it. I DID see his apology video, and it struck me as sincere. Mitch can tell you, I’m not much into the “forced apology” and as a mom, can generally spot the fakes. Now, the kid needs to back that up with action (or withdrawal from the YouTube scene, or donation of a year’s worth of YouTube income to an organization thats mission is to prevent suicides). I DO think we, as a society, are too quick to mete out harsh punishments – or even WISH them on others. Good God, but we’re cruel when it comes to public character assassination of anyone who has transgressed our personal moral code! (Some deserve it – but this kid didn’t murder, rape, or commit high treason or sex acts with a child. Let’s keep a little perspective, here.) Let’s go back to those Bible lessons and meditate on Matthew 7:1-3! Some would call gambling a sin; have you never led any sheep astray in that regard?

    1. YouTube did finally penalize this kid; it was about time. The penalty was pretty weak though; as Pete says, if it were any of us we’d have been booted off.

      Bible verses; don’t make me go there. I don’t want to get mean lol

  6. Hey Holly,

    actually you did and I quote, “It’s very fair, in my opinion, to blame society.”

    If he did apologise I’m sure it was because he didn’t want to lose his lucrative business. And yes Google could and should have kicked him out or at the least removed his adsense earning ability.

    Gambling a sin, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in the Bible.

    1. I actually think his apology was sincere. His mistake was egregious, and he should have been penalized more than he was, but in this instance, like you said, he’s too big to just cut off. There’s that double standard; the rich get to stay rich while the poor are ignored.

  7. Peter, how do you get “Society is not to blame” from my statement: “It’s very fair to blame society”? Reread what I wrote.

    Depends on which religion you’re indoctrinated into whether gambling, itself, is a sin. 😉 Leading people who are addicted to it (and it is considered an addiction, for some people) into buying overseas lottery tickets might well be seen as leading them astray. But here’s what Catholicism says on the matter: (So, basically, “yes and no.” How helpful.)

    Mitch M., I now officially despise your commenting system. I took out the forbidden characters from the linky poo, and hit submit, and the damned thing told me I hadn’t spent enough time on your page before commenting! Ugh. Why don’t you just change it so that links are okay after 40 approved comments, or something? Haven’t I earned that much, by now? LOL – this whole ranting paragraph is, of course, simply designed to kill time at your Bouncer’s behest.

    1. If I could change the setting so that it allowed less time when responding to a response of a comment I surely would. However, as much as you hate this commenting system, at least you get notified whenever someone responds to you lol

  8. Oh, also, Peter – if we can’t learn to accept apologies and allow for the possibility of forgiveness (especially when we’re not even parties to the transgression), then how can we hope to be forgiven for our own wrong-doings? If there’s no hope of forgiveness or redemption, then why the hell should we bother to humble ourselves to others and apologize, even if we do feel remorse? This is what drives people to their little partisan corners, where they find acceptance and even encouragement for their attitudes and behaviors rather than accepting constructive criticism from their neighbors and striving to do better. One moment of stupidity and poor judgement, and the whole Internet wants to see your privates chopped off or have you locked in the stocks in the public square where people can lob dirty diapers at your face. We can’t even pretend we’re “better than that” if we’re not better than THAT.

  9. My mistake Holly, I misunderstood what I read.

    As for the gambling, like I said, as far as I know, and I’ve read the Bible several times, I’ve never seen any reference to gambling. I had a quick look at that link and its more the opinion of Theologians.

    While apologies are good there is nothing wrong with being taught a lesson for wrong doings.

  10. Yes, I agree, social media is not the cause…it’s just the vehicle to spread the word. People are people and will point out even in ancient/older times, people have done things that make you wonder. Think about the colloseum in Rome.

    The whole thing is sad and it makes you wonder how we can really bring the humane race to a higher standard and be tolerant of all of us.

    Anyway, oh well on the $5-6/month I was making on youtube.

    1. I don’t lament losing the little YouTube money I was making but I think YouTube is creating a monster it’s going to regret down the line. Society always figures out a way to get what it wants, and more kids are going to see what the biggest channels are doing and will start doing the same types of things. I’m hoping for the best but track record proves it’s not going to happen.

  11. Hi Mitch,

    I haven’t heard of this kid but if he were mine woe to him!

    I do blame the parents because I see toddlers with their parents cell phones doing God knows what with it. All while the parents are chatting up with others ignoring the child. It all starts there.

    My step son tells his kids phones and Ipads are for adults. His 10 year old got his first Ipad this year. He said that he had 20 minutes to use it or else his brain will melt. lol.

    I can see kids using social media but it has to be when they are old enough to understand responsibility of it all. Even high school kids (who can be a bundle to handle) use social media for bullying and so forth. Its up to the parents to discipline them. To teach them that what they so is what they reap so to say.

    When it comes to kids in other countries like India and Africa, I’ve met some young people who take the use of social media as a business. I marvel at these kids having Facebook set up to teach how to’s. I learned from some of them too.

    Social media can be a useful tool if done properly, but it is up to the parents to control what their kids are doing.


    1. That’s the thing about my calling out the world society Donna. You’re right, some kids have found the entrepreneurial spirit and that’s great, but others have found a way to get what they want just like this guy did because they know what’s going to get views. I couldn’t live with myself if I did things like that or some of the many things I’ve been able to avoid seeing but know about. Then again, if I knew how to edit and do a more professional video… nah! lol

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