Social media can provoke violence


In one of my most recent blog posts, I discussed the importance of people posting videos of themselves doing acts of kindness. I proposed that we learn from the things we are seeing in the news and on social media, which can be used for good, but from today’s news, only half my claim was supported.

Headlines in numerous news sources today a concerning a new game/ fad called, “Knock-out”.

The purpose of the game is to try to knock a random stranger unconscious with one surprise punch to prove manliness. However, this so called game is leaving victims seriously injured and worse. There have been reports of these spontaneous assaults turning deadly in Chicago, St. Louis, New York and New Jersey.

Some reporters have said that there is no reason these kids are provoked but, according to several of the kids interviewed, it is a reason to show off and there is a likely source as to why this has become so popular. The new trends on social media and video sharing on vine has developed a category called “smack cam” where posters hit unsuspecting people in order to put out a funny video.

Popular trending websites, most specifically, feature videos that showcase extreme violence and most specifically street fights that result in one person being knocked out. These videos that a huge population of our youth watch on these websites have clearly made an impact in their own decision-making.

The difference is that the videos are usually between friends staging a slap in the face for a short clip on vine, or a street fight caught on camera phones, but never has it occurred that elderly men and women are unnecessarily assaulted for fun.

Our youth will always try to raise the bar, but the popularity of shock value is clearly transpiring into kid’s lives. NBC has interviewed those behind the smack cam trend and has commented on several videos in particular that are truly cruel. A 21-year-old student named Max Isidor, the inventor of the #SmackCam, told NBC reporters he had no idea of the implications that would result from his viral trend.

Frank Farley, a professor of educational psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, claims that social media are responsible for the spread of this trend. He believes the craving for risk taking and thrill seeking can be even more exercised by pulling these publicity stunts and sharing them on social media for all to see.

What is more shocking than a punch to the face?

I feel I was overly optimistic for hoping that social media could improve society, but instead the acts people are choosing to be influenced by are negative acts of violence and cruel humor.

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