The internet and social media are said to be the electricity of the 21st century, a growing gateway to unlimited amounts of information, including a realm of irrational challenges and trends. These platforms allow people to stay connected and reach out to one another. Many people live off of posting on social media as an actual career, going as far as to creating and participating in unreasonable trends.
Oftentimes more views and likes equate to more money and a higher status. It definitely takes effort to gain popularity and be more successful on social media, but now more than ever, people are voluntarily willing to go to extremes to do so.
Senior Saima Ahmed said, “People are encouraged to do things regardless of rationale for shock value and recognition. At this point in time, people seek both good and bad attention.”
Teenagers and young adults are engaging in challenges that are becoming more unreasonable as the years progress. Usually people post their videos to social media platforms, such as, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. These videos include dangerous challenges, such as, eating Tide Pods, walking in public with blindfolds, and lighting oneself on fire.
As a result, YouTube, has updated its user agreement rules of conduct to cut down on dangerous challenges in 2019. This means that YouTube will be deleting videos that display people engaging in dangerous challenges. The rule was created so that people will stop engaging in risky behavior for the sake of views or subscriptions.
But the rule has not stopped people from doing dangerous challenges and has simply made people migrate to different forms of media to get their fame. Recently, a challenge called the “48 Hour Challenge” emerged, encouraging teenagers to run away for at least two days with the intention of being reported missing on the news so that they can gain traction on social media.
Junior Elizabeth Jackson said, “I think some people aren’t themselves on social media and it’s sad that people try to post pictures about their happiest moments and do things that just get them fame… doing that stuff doesn’t really capture the big picture or what someone is all about.”
Police are warning families about the challenge in hopes of discouraging teenagers from participating in the challenge and causing unnecessary panic and worrying their family, friends, and community. These false reports also get in the way of real crimes being solved.
Another trend that emerged from social media towards the end of 2017, and now in 2019, was the “Momo Challenge”, which involved a character with large, bulging eyes and a strange smile, targeted teenagers and children and urged them to harm or even participate in suicidal behavior. It emerged once again from the media and spread to other sources, such as YouTube, as it was primarily an instagram-focused challenge before.
Despite being called a hoax, the Momo Challenge made its way to news outlets, such as CBS News. Additionally, Palm Beach County Schools in Florida had cut off YouTube access for a short period of time because of the challenge.
Thousands of teenagers and adults are undeniably addicted to electronics and are obsessed over the number of likes and comments they receive. These irrational challenges that are constantly emerging are causing these teenagers to risk their health for personal satisfaction.
People, and teens especially, are willing to go to great lengths to get more social media attention and become more popular. Many of the viral and extreme trends that are being spread across the internet are harming both the physical and mental health of people all around the globe.