Open Screens, Absorbing Minds

By Rarasati Windyadini

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 9.30.10 AM.pngWhat is it with little kids these days? The middle schoolers, gaming in the back seats, cheering out in foul language without a trace of shame, disturbing the whole school bus vibe. “Were we like that back then?” my pals and I speculate.

A kid as young as 10 posted a YouTube response to the recent Logan Paul catastrophe. “I was a little disappointed when I saw the video, but you gotta think about it. Everyone makes mistakes,” Zircon shared. Even from the beginning of his rant, his body language parallels Logan Paul’s own mannerisms, indicating the respect he has for the shunned YouTuber.

Zircon continues to compare Logan Paul’s mistake with parents on Christmas day, “Just like when your parents bought you the wrong PC that you wanted on Christmas… and honestly you just have to deal with it”. It’s as if he normalizes what happened.

Sure, we’ve all made mistakes. Normally though, our wrongdoings start with misspelling a word, and end with mistaking one twin for another. But aiming a DSLR at the suicide forest, filming a dead guy, and then parading it publicly online? Nope.  

Right now, social media is the biggest platform for entertainment. Daily Mail UK claims that more than half of children use social media by age 10, and we can no longer view this as harmless. Popular trends push health risks to unsuspecting children, and their psychological state fares no better with the encounter of social media.

Trends and challenges have taken social media by storm, and accompanying them are alarming numbers of distress. Challenges of suctioning lips inside shot glasses, in hopes of achieving Kylie’s plumped, unrealistic, post-surgery look. Challenges of gulping down a spoonful of cinnamon without drinking water. Challenges of ingesting laundry packs as a way to narcissistically boost follower count. Trends where girls starve themselves so that their thighs don’t touch.

Medical News Today stated 69% of calls to the American Association of Poison Control Centers derive from the cinnamon challenge. Barankin, medical director of the Toronto Dermatology Centre noted that the Kylie Jenner lip challenge caused “bruising that lasts for seven to 10 days.” Additionally, American Association of Poison Control Centers, claims that in the first month of 2018 alone, at least 86 cases of intentional misuse of laundry packets were reported among teenagers completing the tide pod challenge.

Perhaps, kids who go the extra mile are lacking attention at home, participating in order to gain the recognition they seek. Challenges ignite a sense of thrill, allowing children to close their eyes to the frightful consequences.

Another conflict that stems from social media is that it directly attacks a child’s self-esteem. Kids now quantify their worth more than ever, valued numerically with likes and followers. This creates unprecedented amounts of psychological and emotional damage among teenagers who are already dealing with a lot. Addiction is one of them—“social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol”. Online, nearly 10% of users display disordered social networking use.

Stress accumulates when one starts comparing themselves with others. Why don’t I look like that? Why didn’t he comment on my picture? Why don’t I have as many followers as her? According to The Telegraph, a third of children who were relatively unhappy with their appearance reported they suffered from mental illness. This undoubtedly continues to propel with the enhanced prominence of social media.

Many social media influencers are only publishing content for views, which then lead to income. Logan is no different. No matter the video or topic, any addition will accelerate his views and the money in his bank accounts. To him, this is just more content to grab his young followers’ attention.

If we let these kinds of things consume our media and our youth, what kind of future can we expect?

 

Works Cited

  1. Chai, Carmen. “Doctors Warn Teens of Dangers from Trying Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge.” Global News, 24 Apr. 2015, globalnews.ca/news/1959039/doctors-warn-teens-of-dangers-from-trying-kylie-jenner-lip-challenge/.  
  2. Flobros, director. A Message From Logan Paul’s Number 1 Fan. YouTube, YouTube, 2 Jan. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GPP_PnnMgM.  
  3. Hormes, Julia, et. al. 2014. Craving Facebook? Behavioral addiction to online social networking and its association with emotion regulation deficits. Addiction. 2014 Dec
  4. Jamieson, Sophie. “Excessive Social Media Use Harms Children’s Mental Health.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 20 Oct. 2015, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/children/11943810/Excessive-social-media-use-harms-childrens-mental-health.html.
  5. Nordqvist, Christian. “The Cinnamon Challenge Lands Many Children In Hospital.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 22 Apr. 2013, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/259479.php.
  6. Reporter, Daily Mail. “More than Half of Children Use Social Media by the Age of 10: Facebook Is Most Popular Site That Youngsters Join.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 19 Nov. 2014, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552658/More-half-children-use-social-media-age-10-Facebook-popular-site-youngsters-join.html.
  7. Shead, Sam. “Instagram and Snapchat Were Ranked the Worst Apps for Children’s Mental Health.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 19 May 2017, uk.businessinsider.com/instagram-and-snapchat-ranked-worsrt-childrens-mental-health-2017-5/?IR=T.  
  8. Pirani The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 12:00 p.m Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 National/World News, Fiza. “Are People Really Eating Tide Pods? Doctors Warn Parents about Dangerous ‘Tide Pod Challenge’.” Ajc, 5 Feb. 2018, www.ajc.com/news/national/are-people-really-eating-tide-pods-doctors-warn-parents-about-dangerous-tide-pod-challenge/fgGxrYa6z5pAGuFoAJXpDI/.

One thought on “Open Screens, Absorbing Minds

  1. Dhaanyia

    I love your topic. It is very relevant today and it is something people need to be aware about. Great Job!

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