This story ran in the Manly Daily today. A horrible story about teens apparently throwing a lamb around and filming it, at a northern beaches school. The sheep and its mother have been traumatised and severely injured, the mother lamb may die from her injuries. The community is angry and horrified. Update: According to reports on Facebook the Mother Sheep has indeed passed away. Way beyond a prank now.
The Lure Of The Viral Video
With over 40 million users of Vine and a billion users of YouTube, the lure of having a video go “viral” for some users is understandable irresistible. But how do you rise above all the other videos to do that? Filming pranks or dangerous situations seems to be one of the most popular ways to get noticed in this video saturated online world we live in. It is certainly not a new phenomenon to put yourself or others in danger or to carry out dangerous pranks for video, it probably all started with “Candid Camera” look that one up kids! We don’t know at this stage but it could also well be the case here with the cruelty to these pet sheep.
What’s The Attraction?
Shares, hits or Likes = Fame and attention. In this day and age of the “Famous for being famous” some people will do anything to gain fame. Fame may lead to money, success or simply attention and admiration from their friends and community. But at what cost?
What’s With All The Cliff Falls?
You may have also been hearing a lot of stories recently about people falling off cliffs, cranes and balconies whilst trying to get a really cool video or pic. Getting that perfect shot or video of something for social media can push people to do really dangerous things that they are simply not qualified to carry out safely. I’m not talking about trained stunt people or extreme sports people who actually have expertise in mountain climbing or abseiling, I’m talking about younger people mostly, who take it into their heads to do something daring for a camera and social media to result in hundreds or thousands of “likes” or shares. A while back the dangerous trend was “Planking” now it’s sitting on the edge of a massive drop, like Wedding Cake Rock Sadly deaths have occurred all in the name of “likes”.
Camera’s On Phones And Social Media Changed It All
With pretty much everyone having access to a video camera and personal broadcasting via social media and other live streaming apps, it’s going to get worse. Of course the “airways” are flooded with content, so the next vial video has to be even more unusual and stunning. A cat playing a keyboard isn’t going to cut it anymore. Only the most daring, scary, funny or surprising videos will be able to cut through the noise.
What Can Parents Do?
Parents giving their young ones a device with a camera need to stress the responsibility that comes with it. Set some boundaries around use and sharing video and photos. You can disable the camera in many of the new devices until your child is old enough to use it responsibly. Talk to your child about the etiquette around taking photos, asking permission, making sure everyone is happy to be in the photo. Sharing etiquette, what your rules for your family are.
Parents need to have a conversation with their teens about this video pranking trend, and the possible consequences of having something go viral that ends up hurting someone or something. Pranks can be harmless fun, but some can result in injury, harm and sadly death.
The desire for likes and shares may equate to the desire for approval and validation. A child who craves that may have self esteem issues that may need addressing. In some teens this can lead to an unhealthy addiction to social media, where they live their lives totally through a lens. Even famous Instagramers and YouTubers need balance in their lives.
Kids Need Help To Prevent Getting Caught Up
Kids also need to know how to get themselves out of a potentially dangerous or illegal situation, they need some skills in making sure that if they see something dangerous or harmful about to occur that they can maybe stop it, or avoid it. Such a huge responsibility for a teen I know, but learning these skills are essential for teens to keep them alive! Yeh kinda reminds me of the photo at the top of this post…”If Tommy jumped off a bridge would you???”
Your ability as a parent to talk to your teens about these issues is key for helping them navigate this digital world. Educate yourself on the technology and the apps they use, and keep your eyes and ears open.