Is YouTube to Blame For Dangerous Stunts?
It seems there are more and more young people vying for instant internet fame by copying the latest stunt they’ve seen online.
This could be the case in Brampton where a 19-year-old man died Wednesday night after he fell off the trunk of his friend’s Honda Civic. Peel Regional Police say this was a case of ‘car surfing’. Just type the words into YouTube and you’ll see clips of people from all over the world standing on and hanging out of moving vehicles.
Teenagers and young people doing foolish things isn’t new or unexpected says Jane Morrish of Parachute, a Canadian organization that focuses on injury prevention. What is new, she says, is the draw of social media and internet video sites.
“Teens brains are not developed at all. They really don’t develop until the age of 25. And when they’re developing what’s happening is that they have this part of the brain that’s really kind of a social, emotional centre that just gets so excited and it’s hard-wired to look for risks and things that they can do that are exciting. Their cognitive section, that section that should say ‘hey let’s stop and think about this’ is not really turned on yet. And now what’s happening is with social media and all of these different things that are coming up that is further compounding that. It’s giving them different ways to take these risks that they’re already hard-wired and primed to take and that’s leading to increases in injury and unfortunately death.”said Morrish.
Morrish says the draw of instant internet fame is only exacerbating the situation. She says parents need to realize that peer pressure doesn’t only come from your child’s group of friends it can also come from the friends they’ve gathered online.
“Social networks are a lot larger than they were before. They’re not just friends with the friends that they see on the playground, they’re friends with the people online they’re friends with the people they see on YouTube. There’s a lot more influences on them about things that they can do and unfortunately that leads to a lot of stupid risks that they can take and that they are now influenced by that they may not have been exposed to before.”
Parachute encourages parents to talk to their kids and teens about drawing a “stupid line” in order to discourage dangerous behavior and should talk about the consequences of the stunts they see on the internet.