Society and Culture
Violent Pranks Born Out of Click-Bait Culture
The impact of social media on today’s youth is getting close to such a dangerous level that it’s an alarm bell for every caring members of this society. The recent news of a teenager attacking and hitting people randomly in the park is a glimpse of the wrong turn in post-modern social scene.
As reported in the media, the 19-year-old guy physically assaulted random people at a park in Harris County, Texas, so he could make videos of his act and become famous on social media. This is how the teen who attacked the men described his actions:
“It was a prank. I had no problem with the man. I wasn’t trying to hurt him. I was hanging out with my friend, and we did a TikTok (video), and so, yeah, I didn’t mean it, didn’t mean to harm anybody.”
Pranks have long been part of various cultures, particularly becoming popular with the reality TV sub-culture in the entertainment industry. And while accepted by many, critics of pranks pointed out years ago that more social media platforms are making it worse with the temptation of click-bait popularity. But dissolving the boundary between a rather harmless prank that makes one laugh and an attack that can hurt or terrorize someone – whether a person or animal – as a prank can have devastating consequences for the entire society, particularly if it is condoned for social media entertainment.
A concerned citizen informed the police about this teenager in question and the police promised a violent crime investigation. But it needs more attention than an individual criminal case. On the one hand, parents and teachers need to educate the youth better on the limitations of jokes played on others. On the other hand, the click-bait culture needs to be defeated as policy on social media sites. Serious notice needs to be taken by CEOs/managers of social media platforms against members who sensationalize crimes as pranks for popularity.