“Instead of getting help, they opened their cellphones.”
In this day and age, when all things viral hold power over us, it feels like no moments, from the biggest public events to most intimate encounters, go unfilmed.
You can find practically anything on the internet, and while most of us use it for social connections, humors, and news, much darker and more sobering things abound from Facebook to YouTube and beyond.
Especially among millennials, videos of fights always seem to be trending. From schoolyard brawls to drunken squabbles to actual violence of the streets, graphic videos, no doubt desensitized by countless movies, TV shows, and games, pervade the web and are available to anybody with an internet connection.
Now one politician is crusading to stop it.
“Instead of getting help, they opened their cellphones. I just want to send a clear message that it is unacceptable to stage these fights or be a willing bystander.”
Often in our middle school history classes, while studying themes such as the Holocaust, we are taught that bystanders are sometimes just as bad as perpetrators.
Whereas in the past one’s normal reaction to seeing a fight might have been to try and break it up or call for help, today, one of the most common reactions is simply to capture it on camera. Who isn’t guilty of whipping out their phone to record what we thought seemed like a funny moment, but in hindsight could have truly been dangerous? Our need to impress others on social media has stripped us of some of our humanity.
Though schoolyard brawls may be as old as schools themselves, this violence today extends beyond the confines of “the flagpole, three o’ clock” and instead permeates the web, allowing thousands or millions of others to witness the fight.
Among millennials, one-upping somebody’s stunt on social media is as simple as having a friend, or even the phone itself, record you recreating a viral moment. This trend has led to numerous videos of occasionally funny, but often scary or illegal, “pranks” to be imitated time and time again by teenagers and college students.