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There’s nothing wrong with the Internet. I say “There’s something awry about society”.. YouTube Only? Suicide forest, live streaming and weird NSFW videos.

YouTube Only? Suicide forest, live streaming and weird NSFW videos.

Have I got your attention?

Most likely it happened when you read the title and I sparked off a myriad of brain connections that elicited a memory about some of these topics. Good; you’re almost a typical candidate for how the internet can trap you into addiction, porn and depressions through social media use…. Only kidding…..or am I?

Here’s my rant about this today and yes I’ve noticed some of my posts have been a bit ranty, but that’s what happens when I become frustrated, angry, sad and defensive of my clients and in general people whom I have based Cybertrauma theory on.

You see the internet is a business. FACT. YouTube/Facebook/Twitter and LinkedIn are business too, FACT. The thing with business is their ultimate aim is to bring in money. Lots of it. As much as they can. Ethics, Values and Impact are all debatable here and yet I understand that the ethics of one company may not reflect another. Do they care about the impact their business has on the world? Perhaps only as far as can, I make them money? Perhaps in terms of forward-thinking; a grand life for designing something in the here and now is overpowered by the thinking processes of self-regulation versus aspirations and greed? Perhaps I am cynical, however, I do think that honestly designers of the platforms and apps that appear on the internet are not concerned with long term impact if they can design something that will earn them big bucks. I know I would because I am a human too. It would be hard to resist no doubt?

So recently there was this ‘thing’ that appeared on the internet whereby a journalist (not some small-time researcher such as myself or other academics who study this stuff for a living) decided to write about some YouTube videos being unsuitable for children. No shit sherlock!! This article went ‘viral’ (Interesting how this term is now used). I sat in awe as this is one tiny part of my theory of cybertrauma and for a while, I sat thinking you’re kidding me, now ‘we’ (some of the internet) outcry about a phenomenon that has been around since the internet began and I’ve not to this date seen much of an implementation to reduce these videos or remove them regardless of the size of the article and outcry? #moneymaker

How interesting and what about…. Live streaming of a number of issues of which I will speak about just one here and have previously written a blog on. What about Snuff movies? What about sites that teach about heinous acts? What about the stuff that isn’t on YouTube, why are “we” not upset about this? What are “we” actually doing about it? Can the internet providers prevent this? (highly unlikely and the topic of a cyber synapse podcast soon) #maybenotmoneymaker

Then came the flurry of articles (mostly opinionated and often citing less than significant research articles) in the media about how social media is addictive; I argue it’s not. It’s more complicated than this and is an overlap of attachment behaviours and ‘addiction in laypersons language’ not the Psychopathological aspect. But I’m sure ‘we’ can make money out of this? Perhaps even offer ‘Interventions’ for this issue? #moneymaker

Now we have psychopathology of ‘gaming disorder’ that will soon mean that this term will be used to ‘diagnose’ normal friendship behaviours when the medium between people is a PC, console or smartphone. I don’t actually remember learning about the Mental Health disorder of telephonic communication addiction or electronic communication disorder but I do know it was a normal part of growing up to use the telephone for ages and perhaps even consecutively for days on end, moreover, this is how people actually communicated with each other, you know like to have conversations and be social…. Oh-oh, there’s that addictive word again! Once again ‘we’ (some of the internet) will now use this to begin providing quackery interventions, clinics and ‘recovery centres’ #moneymaker

Now we have terms (all being made up as we speak) like ‘social media-related anxiety’ and ‘socmed depression’, ‘socmed addiction’ and many more. All which provide the internet with judgemental language which can be imposed on the younger generations by those who invented/designed it. #irony. They could probably spend time designing apps to help with these terms? #moneymaker*Today I saw an article that talks about young people not being equipped to deal with ‘socmed pressure’ (runs off to add to cyber dictionary as this may well be different to the real world pressure?…I think not but I do suggest it’s enhanced somewhat)

The point I want to now make is about how the internet is a #moneymaker environment and this is its primary function/purpose. It’s quite sobering and disturbing what I am about to discuss so please take care of yourself when and after reading this. (with that comment I now know I have your attention so please be aware your curiosity may get the better of you).

Recently Logan Paul a Youtuber with fifteen million subscribers…. #moneymakerforYoutube #moneymakerforhim, Of whom the demographic is likely to be aged under 25 when the brain is not fully developed by the way and is impacted by traumatic images far more than adults in terms of neuroscience which I won’t go into here, and of course anyone under the age of 25 is clearly ‘addicted and can’t resist watching Youtube’ (I’m seriously considering taking up sarcasm as an academic form right now).

Anyway, back to the 15 million subscribers and the recent video that Logan decided to film, bring back to his production team which includes editors, publishers and so on. This was a morbid display of him illegally entering Suicide Forest in Japan, whereby he is heard to say on the video something along the lines of “I wonder if I’ll see a suicide” (I mean c’mon was this scripted? Now I’m thinking I wonder if there will be bread at the bakers? hmm). Well indeed there was a recent suicide in the forest approximately 100m from the entrance and Logan is seen to walk up to the persons body and begin discussing his surprise, and adds in but did you know he also has more videos on his website and merchandise etc.? .#moneymaker. (I’ve not heard the exact wording but this is the gist of it) He is joined by others and they film the person’s body and belongings and continue chatting, but perhaps as s gin of his level of knowledge touted as respect, he does blur out the persons face. Because that’s how to get past the filters (A bit like the black mirror episode I recently watched- Top job btw Charlie Brooker may season 5 hurry up!)

The aspect about this video that’s morbid, sad and disrespectful occurs on two levels. One those who filmed it, edited it and produced it. Two the fact that YouTube trended it. Yep- they decided to put it into trending whereby anyone who was not on Logans subscriber list might have seen it too. 15 million-plus and counting.

It has been taken down after an outcry by ‘we’ of the internet and this includes celebs. I’m left wondering though how much money this made through the number of views for YouTube/Logans team in the 24 hours or so that it was up and most importantly the effect this has had on children and young people as this conversation has been in my therapy room this week. Furthermore who decided along the route from the initial filming through to the process of appearing on YouTube and them deciding to monetise on this where the values, ethics and respect that this person deserved? Why did no-one seemingly say I don’t want to be part of this, please don’t put it up etc? Where was the human decision?

This video exists outside of YouTube and therefore is still accessible and not to forget that others can now make money out of this and will do so. It’s about the money, the business, the fame, the shock and so on.

To misquote the journalist James Bridle: There’s nothing wrong with the Internet. I say “There’s something awry about society”. The internet does not currently decide to film, edit, produce and upload videos of this nature nor does it then go onto monetise it by labelling it as trending. That’s a human being that does that.

On or off YouTube it doesn’t really matter as there will always be a platform and always someone willing to be a #moneymaker out of it. Never mind the consequences?

Facebook, beheadings and other gruesome material

I wanted to keep this blog hidden until after I had presented at the Trauma Conference in November. However, the media has a funny way of bringing things to people’s attention. Let’s be clear about my stance on this topic. Cyber trauma needs to be spoken about to help repair ANY damage caused by witnessing and viewing traumatic material. I have been developing workshops for professionals, parents and adults who work with young people around this topic for over 18 months as I am beginning to see the effects of this through my work as a therapist and Relationships & Sex Education tutor. So what am I talking about? Cyber trauma, what does this mean? I don’t want to come across all Greenfield-ist, but.. Young people who are watching horrific, traumatic, abusive and cruel images and videos are encountering traumatic responses which are manifesting as behaviours in schools, homes and elsewhere. Now I’m not saying this is every young person, what I am saying is the number of young people and concerned adults that I am talking to in my roles is becoming alarmingly incremental. So what I decided for this blog was to give a quick overview of trauma, the growing young person, that is the adolescent brain and what happens to that young person after witnessing such a video over the Internet. NOT always Facebook, however, this is one area I want to highlight. Trauma has a biological effect on the growing brain, which in short affects learning, brain development, empathy, peer and ‘other’ people relationships, behaviour patterns which could be misdiagnosed, memory problems, communication problems, thinking processes and (possibly, but more probable) desensitisation just to name a few In short young people are carrying the images as a biological response, which is unconscious so will be ‘out of the persons awareness’. This is showing up as ‘bad’ behaviour which can include self-harm, self-injurious behaviour, attention deficits, suicidal thoughts and actions, aggression and even possibly reenactments of the images or videos to others Just to add to this the young people are under peer pressure, social norms and cyber bullying if they do/don’t watch and share these videos. There is an expectation to be able to handle this level of ‘horror’ in whatever format it appears in. It’s talked about in and out of school and is the new gossip. If children live in low SES households (Socio Economic Status), or have parents who are sensible and try to protect their children through e-safety at home they are not protected from this ever increasing trend as mobile technology allows for the viewing on someone else’s device. Without parental consent or knowledge The videos themselves cover a large area of trauma, ranging from horrific murders, assaults, child abuse, sexual and physical, this includes videos of young people abused by peers and then used for blackmail purposes, adult abuse (similar?) animal cruelty, surgeries, accidents and injuries and protestors for the rights of any of these topics using the videos to ‘get their point over’. Now, this is interesting as a phenomenon in itself as to why there is a sudden increase in these types of videos and who actually has an interest in this world? However, as adults, we have a choice to go looking for this type of information if we do it’s at our own discretion and peril and we can click onto some websites that freely hold some of these images. I DO NOT KNOW OF, NOR WISH TO CONDONE SEXUAL ABUSE SITES!!! although p*rnography, especially BDSM may look traumatic to young people witnessing it for the first time. Young people are not getting this choice. It’s happening by accident, through peer pressure, videos are marked to look like something else, there’s an expectation to comment and like the videos with “ha LOL, funny vid!!”, people are tagged, it shows up in someone else’s news feeds and most importantly young people (every one to be fair) is CURIOUS! It’s non-intentional mostly, and this is why trauma has the biggest effect. There was no psychological preparation. Even so, watching someone have their head cut off would make me nauseous even if I was prepared for the image. I have an opposite argument to weigh up the costs of trauma and to argue for and against who, how and where this is having an effect but lately I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about this area not being acknowledged by large media attention. I want to discuss this in more details in social services, schools, youth clubs, with parents and so on, but for now I will present at the Trauma Conference and see where I go from there. Maybe no one wants to listen. Ostrich syndrome perhaps?