We all love social media and what it offers us in terms of communication, entertainment, and keeping up to date with the happenings in the world. However, too much of a 'good' thing can be a bad thing. Social media is no exception...even less so in fact because oftentimes we get got up in this cycle of 'performing for others on social media, we forget to really take in the world around us. We give off this air of success, adventure, and quite honestly ego on social media, telling every single moment about our passing lives to anyone who will upvote our posts and give us our dopamine fix.
Therein lies the issue with becoming so attached to social media, which is it starts to become a pseudo drug that we need every single day or, even for some every, other hour in order to satiate ourselves and stroke our ego. Social media is not a bad outlet, but as with all things it requires moderation and balance. There are some instances in which social media has been used for far more devious and nefarious acts.
Just last week there was a trending date of "April 24" and while on the surface this may look uninteresting, the details behind this trend are much more disturbing. There is no formal way of saying this, so the best way I can describe the trend is allegedly a group of men took to the social media app TikTok and started a trend of making April 24 "National Sexual Assault Day." Many users on the platform documented this and that's when it started to blow up and it even attracted the attention of law enforcement. However, when TikTok tried to discover who was responsible for the post, they could find no trace of the post or who posted it. Could it be a hoax? It could be, yes, but this doesn't mean things like this don't happen all the time. In fact, there are several instances in which social media has directly contributed to tragic circumstances.
Are you familiar with the "Blue Whale Challenge?" If not then let me explain what it is--the challenge is an online suicide game in which over the course of 50 days the user is supposed to carry out 50 tasks, which are given out by the curator of the challenge. At the end of the 50 days and 50 tasks, the participant commits suicide. This challenge started in Russia, but it soon spread to other parts of the globe, including the United States. This 'game' resulted in hundreds of deaths and multiple survivor stories. However, it gets even more bizarre when you delve deeper into the actual history of the game and discover the much like the "April 24" hashtag, there is no documented evidence of the origins of the Blue Whale Challenge. People just took the story of the girl, Rina, who allegedly started the challenge and created a culture around it. There was an arrest made for the purported curator of the challenge, but little besides hearsay that points to the origins of the challenge ever actually existing.
Why then is this an issue if it amounts to nothing more than a hoax? The reason is that even hoaxes can have dire consequences and as evidence to the Blue Whale Challenge, can have a culture created around the very idea. This is why you must be careful with what you digest online and be even more careful with what you let your kids and younger loved ones expose themselves to online. It only takes one match to start a forest fire after all.
I urge you to take caution with trends like this and others that resort to violence and peer pressure to be a part of. If your gut instinct tells you something seems off or leaves you with more questions than you have answers, then the best thing to do is trust it. Don't just sweep things under the rug and allot them to being nothing more than just "kids being kids," because oftentimes it's due to our own negligence that trends such as these go unchecked before it's too late.