The problem with [insert stupid idea here] challenges
Image Credit: Jason Chen (Youtube)
They say that with each year you grow a little older and a little wiser. However, in a broader societal sense, that seems to be quite the contrary. In our modern world we are lucky enough to be blessed with the internet, a magnificent tool that has expanded the realm of possibility for society and made information more readily available than ever before. However, instead of learning new skills, researching vast amounts of information, or forming meaningful relationships across the globe; we are instead posting videos of ourselves eating laundry detergent on the internet for our 15 seconds of fame.
The whole concept of internet trends has been something I have struggled to grasp for a long time. I never understood why being noticed meant so much to people. It appears as though people will do anything for a little recognition, even if it was something that they would surely be hated for. What is the meaning of this? Why give up one’s values and dignity just to be recognised online?
Although I don’t understand it, the problem remains. As the internet continues to age and rapidly expand, this abundance of dangerous and stupid internet trends does not seem like it will be disappearing anytime soon. From eating spoonfuls of cinnamon to snorting condoms through the nose and pulling them out the mouth, it seems as though society has truly reached the apotheosis of stupidity. But is it all really their fault?
In short, yes, it is still their fault. However, delving deeper into the psychology behind these trends we find some interesting insight. It is no secret that the perpetrators of these crazy online “challenges”, as the kids call them, are young kids and teenagers between the ages of 12 to 17. During puberty as a brain is developing, young minds are filled with hormones as the body gets ready for sexual maturity. Among this influx of hormones is the “feel good” chemical dopamine.
Essentially, young minds are filled with so much dopamine that they are constantly searching for ways to gain some type of reward or satisfying stimulation; and according to an article on TeenSafe, internet acceptance or popularity can be one of the fastest ways to gain that satisfaction, leading young kids to make poor choices in search of that “feel good” feeling.
Puberty can be a confusing time for young brains. Everyone is trying to find their way in the world, and cement themselves as a certain type of person among their peers. However, if you are thinking of snorting a condom for some recognition, then I think you may have some deeper issues that need to be explored.
Regardless, the wave of dangerous internet trends does not seem like it will be slowing down anytime soon; so how do we combat this issue? Well in my opinion, as society continues to grow and common sense seems to be becoming less and less common with each generation, I feel that we should just let natural selection take its course. However, I can see why this may be a more concerning issue for parents, who may want to try stopping their children from ever getting involved in such trends.
Obviously, the monitoring of such videos and posts can only do so much, and with sites like YouTube and Facebook already cracking down on such behavior by removing certain “challenge” videos, it is really left up to the parents and children themselves to try stopping the perpetuation of such stunts.
An obvious solution to such a problem is to simply educate the children. Studies from the Pew Research Center continue to return results that show that a majority of the youth use the internet daily and many spend most of their time browsing the web. With such statistics, it is safe to assume that many young children are getting a lot of information from the internet, which may or may not be accurate.
With that said, it is important that parents educate their children thoroughly on what is safe and what is not. In a rapidly advancing technological age, it is important for parents to remain vigilant and do their best to educate their families, and monitor what is going on in the cyber world.
A young mind is an easily influenced and fragile thing. I believe it can often be hard for parents to understand their children and what they may be feeling. That’s why it is important to push the basics of what is right and what is wrong into a child at an early age, because from what I have learnt, it appears as if kids will do anything to be a little “cool”.
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