On August 31, 2020, a 33-year-old army veteran named Ronnie McNutt gruesomely killed himself in a Facebook Live video posted on social media. Soon after, memes and jump cuts depicting his suicide circulated on social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, among other places.
It wasn’t long before reaction videos between friends and siblings became increasingly popular. This is not the first time an online suicide has been widespread and turned into a meme, which is a shame because it is not uncommon. In addition to desensitising children to violence, this subculture of macabre shock humour can lead to copycat behaviours and significant trauma symptoms in the adult population.
Top Rated Apps
The top-rated TikTok app offers a customised feed known as the “For You” page, displaying content tailored to the user. Trending videos related to the user’s view history are shared on the For You page, along with a few random videos to offer diversity and interest to the page. This is the reason why unsettling films may emerge out of nowhere on a user’s page without their knowledge or consent.
On various social media platforms, users frequently save and forward the most disturbing items to their friends and family. That implies that, even though the photos and videos have been reported and removed by moderators after this video by Ronnie McNutt , they continue to exist.
Users have even gone so far as to hide a gory clip in the middle of a seemingly unrelated film to mock one another for the GOTCHA effect. No matter which social media platform your children prefer to use (Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook), they may find it impossible to stay away from terrible content.
Children are particularly vulnerable to videos that pique their attention, pique their curiosity, or shock them. The more stunning the video is, the more social cred youngsters receive, which helps them fit in, gain popularity, and appear calm and edgy, among other things.
Knowledge is Harrowing
Because processing this type of knowledge is harrowing, children frequently transform their uncomfortable sentiments into humorous situations as a means of coping. The tendency for people to have an emotional reaction that is the polar opposite of what they expect is referred to as reaction formation by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis.
Modelling is defined in psychology as a sort of learning that occurs due to observing and mimicking another person’s behaviour. Children are particularly wired for modelling and learning through role-playing because it helps them comprehend valuable life tactics such as social cues and coping with emotions.
Following the example of their peers laughing at these films or striving to make amusing reactions, they begin to accept this type of conduct, causing them to lose their initial emotion of disgust. Thus, the vicious loop of spreading terrible films continues indefinitely.
On TikTok, a popular response video created by Jorobe, serves as an illustration of this. This video features a snippet from a conversation between a female watching the McNutt film with another girl. A nervous chuckle is heard from the victim, who then covers her face and leans away from the phone.
She looks at the camera and then back at the girl showing the video and then covers her face again. Her unprocessed reaction reveals astonishment, repulsion, and a clumsy attempt to make sense of what she has witnessed. The other girl laughs at her as she tries to make sense of her feelings of pain. She then bursts out laughing in return. The shift from disgust to amusement is, in and of itself, the punch line.
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