Viyada HoltProfessor BurmanEnglish 10229 January 2018TheLogang CultAbstract YouTube has become a significantly negative impact onyoung children. While once a site that was simply used to view cat videos orlisten to music it has grown into a larger platform that creates celebritiesand millionaires. Considering how impressionable young children can be, it isvery often that they idolize their favorite celebrities.
So, one must ask ifYouTube has become a way for creators to manipulate children; do these creatorsact as role models or are they creating a toxic ideology of what is sociallyand morally acceptable? Further research supported the idea that the mostpopular YouTubers create content based off money and views, rather than contentthey believe is genuinely entertaining or sends a good message. It is importantto understand how influential the decisions these creators make can be on youngchildren. Introduction YouTube has grownto be one of the most negative impacts on today’s society due to the blindidolizations of its “celebrities.” This report researches and shows howchildren aged 9-17 can become easily influenced by social media stardom. Basedon studies and research performed, children look towards many celebrities to betheir role models. However, it is hard for them to discern what is acceptablebehavior at their age.
This can greatly affect the way that they view what ismorally and socially acceptable. Social media itself plays a large role ineveryday life, and especially for that of children aged 9-17. Studies conductedshowed children’s mental health is greatly affected by the internet, especiallyin the areas of low self-esteem and body image (Richards et al.). A study doneby the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the suicide rate amongteenage girls ages 15 to 19 rose to an all time 40-year high in 2015. The ratehad almost doubled between 2007 and 2015 (Chuck). These high rates demanded forthe problem to be addressed and researched. Most cases of teen suicide werelinked to that of bullying on some platform of social media.
While social mediaserved as a reliable tool to communicate and share with others; it also becamewhat poisoned young minds. Because of its anonymity it became easier for teensto bully one another with what seemed like almost no repercussions. At the sametime social media fame was on the rise. Children and teens began discussing andsharing pictures and videos they found relatable or humorous. Before longYouTube became a new kind of Hollywood.
Thousands of videos were posted dailyof comedy skits, news, music videos, and more. Celebrities such as JustinBieber, Colbie Caillat, and Soulja Boy were even discovered from simply postingamateur videos of themselves singing on the platform. Those who aspired tobecome famous used the platform to gain attention and give them the boost theyneeded to be on mainstream television.
In the early 2000s, that attention wasall someone could gain from YouTube. It was all work and no pay. However, asYouTube celebrities became more successful, so did the website. Meetups werebeing done between YouTube personalities and their fans, and some were evenbeing paid to have advertisements played before their videos. It wasn’t until2007 that the site really became a goldmine for creators. Nowadays manyYouTubers can quit their jobs and upload videos as a career. In fact, YouTubehas paid out more than $1.
25 billion to rights holders for the ability toscreen their content (Stokel-Walker). Logan Paul is the fourth richest creatoron the platform YouTube. Each year he makes an estimated amount of 13 million(Ahmed). The 22-year-old broke on to the scene originally on an app calledVine. This app allowed creators to make a video for only six seconds.
Usuallypartnered with his equally famous brother Jake Paul, the two made funny andrelatable vines that shot to the popular page almost immediately after beingposted. After the creator of the app decided to shut down Vine Paul made histransition to YouTube. With a ginormous group of fans following him it didn’ttake long for the vlogger to begin trending on YouTube. His fan base consistsof mainly boys aging from 13-17. Paul receives a shocking 3 million views perday on his videos (Ahmed).
His content consists of daily vlogging of his lifeand some pranks with his brother Jake. Paul refers to his loyal fans as the”Logang,” many times stating they are “Mavericks” and “different than anyoneelse.” Millions of his fans rave that he has inspired and motivated them to besuccessful.
So where is the problem in Logan Paul’s insane amount of success? Arecent video uploaded in December by Paul showed him discovering a dead body inthe suicide forest of Japan. Instead of dropping the camera to seek help, Paulvlogged the man’s body as he found it hanging from a tree (“We found a deadbody in the Japanese Suicide Forest”). Shortly after posting the video it wasmet with disgust and anger from almost the entire YouTube community. It sparkedthousands of reaction videos and angry tweets from fellow YouTubepersonalities. The now deleted video was titled “We found a dead body in theJapanese Suicide Forest.” The video was the final installment of a series ofvlogs Paul had filmed during his visit to Japan. Only a few hours afteruploading Paul deleted the video and issued an apology on his Twitter.
Paulstates he “intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention” (@LoganPaul).This was met with more anger and accusations that Paul had gone into the forestto seek out the body simply for more views. However, while his fellow YouTubestars were condemning him, his fanbase was doing the exact opposite. The”Logang” met the controversy with blind support of the star. Some fans going asfar as to say the man was lucky to even be in a Logan Paul vlog. One boy uploadeda video of himself stating “I would do anything, even that, just to be in aLogan Paul vlog” (Logan Paul’s Fans 00:00:09-00:00:12).
Before the video hadbecome such a social media firestorm most parents knew virtually nothing aboutLogan Paul. In an interview done by a woman outside of a Logan Paul meet andgreet she asked parents what their opinion of the star was. One father answered,”I don’t really know anything about him, my kids just love him.” This is whereYouTube begins to become a toxic platform. While the early days of YouTubeproduced content that was new, exciting, and well thought out, the newercreators of the platform only push out videos they know will make them money.This mentality that views equal money produces dangerous content that is madefor shock value rather than entertainment. With complete disregard for theiraudience most top YouTubers play into the “prank culture” of YouTube thatbecame big in 2013.
A YouTuber by the name of Sam Pepper had uploaded a videotitled “KILLING BEST FRIEND PRANK” where he kidnaps a man and forces him towatch his best friend get shot in the head in front of him. Only to reveal theentire thing was a prank and that his friend is alive (“KILLING BEST FRIENDPRANK”). This video was also deleted after being met with backlash. Despite somany similar videos meeting the same backlash, the prank culture continues tothrive. Boyfriends film themselves throwing their girlfriends out windows,fathers tell mothers their kids have died, and other YouTubers even go out intopublic and provoke fights under the guise of it being a prank. So why do thesevideos continue to take over the platform? The simple answer is that they getmore views. No matter how much the YouTube community condemns these actions thevideos continue to get millions of views from children. A study done showedthat by the time a child reaches the age of 18 they have already viewed 16,000simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence (qtd.
in Muscari). There is asignificant connection between this media violence and aggressive behavior,values, and behaviors in children (qtd. in Muscari.). What makes the issue sodifficult is how easy it is for children to access this content. With how fartechnology has progressed videos and pictures can be accessed with a thumbswipe or a click of a button.
Many children that idolize celebrities like LoganPaul cannot separate his online persona with reality. They believe if they areexactly like him they can become rich and successful like him as well. It isnot bad for children to have role models of course, but there needs to be apoint where parents step in to teach what is right and what is wrong. TheUniversity Wire drives in this point by saying “The fact of the matter is thatparents can’t control the actions of a celebrity nor can they prevent exposureto their bad behavior. Parents need to encourage their children to not aspireto be someone, but to aspire to do something” (“Idolization of Celebrities”).
Methods The research was done mostly through ProQuest andYouTube. By entering in the keywords “YouTube,” “children,” “role models,” and”internet violence” to ProQuest many articles with relevant information werefound to give more insight to the effect mass media has on children. Of all theYouTube personalities Logan Paul was examined. By examining his YouTubechannel, analyzing his most viewed videos, and reading the comment sectionsinformation on his content and fanbase was recorded. A YouTube search was doneon interviews containing material on Logan Paul. A series of street interviewswith parents of his fanbase helped to demonstrate the ignorance most parentsshow to his content. Results The research doneindicated that children aged 9-17 are the most susceptible to cyberbullying andinternet violence.
The University Wire news article showed that most parentsnowadays look to internet personalities to act as role models to theirchildren. This mindset proved problematic because of the importance ofinstilling values as a parent to one’s child. Since the lives of celebritiesare often time scrutinized or glamorized it is not wise to hold them to animpossible standard or expect them to teach children about what is right or wrong.In contrast to this Muscari’s journal on media violence brought forth the pointthat parents need to be aware of what their children are watching.
Muscaristresses how incredibly easy it is for children to access graphic material onthe internet. However, with the proper education in schools, clinics, and otheroffices parents can learn the statistics and how to avoid exposure to mediaviolence. Discussion The findings ofthis research answered the question of how mass media influences youngchildren.
Looking at the suicide rates of young children in relation to socialmedia shows how detrimental it can be to a child’s mental health. The ignoranceand indifference parents show to what their children watch also feeds in to theproblem. The research proves that most parents look to celebrities to teachtheir children values.
However, when parents are not paying attention to what isbeing viewed they cannot know what kind of values are being instilled in theirchild. While they hold celebrities to this impossible standard, those same celebritiesare looking out for themselves and their income rather than what they couldpossibly be teaching young children.Conclusion/Recommendations It is hoped that the issue of social media’s influence onchildren can be changed to something more positive in the future.
Parents needto be more involved in what and who their children are watching online. It needsto be recognized that a good portion of celebrities are not proper role modelsfor young children, and the blind support of those children only encourage celebritiesfurther to continue in toxic behavior. YouTube and other social media need to actagainst content that is blatantly graphic or violent.
Instead of paying thosecreators money for their mistakes there needs to be adequate consequences. Moreparents need to monitor what their children are watching to make sure it isconveying the right message to children. Both parents and children need to beeducated more on how to avoid this kind of content and the effect it can haveon one’s mental health. If both YouTube and parents can take that step forwardto prevent more exposure of violence to children the internet can become ahealthy environment for children to learn and communicate with one another. WorksCitedAhmed,Tufayel.
“How Much is Logan Paul Worth? YouTube Star Behind Japan SuicideForest Video Earns Millions From Videos.” Newsweek.3 Jan. 2018. http://www.newsweek.
com/how-much-logan-paul-worth-youtube-star-behind-japan-suicide-forest-video-earns-769018.Chuck,Elizabeth. “Is Social Media Contributing to Rising Teen Suicide Rate?” NBCNews, 22 Oct. 2017. https://www.
nbcnews.com/news/us-news/social-media-contributing-rising-teen-suicide-rate-n812426.”Idolizationof Celebrities.” University Wire, Nov 12, 2014, eLibrary;US Newsstream, http://ezproxy.pierce.ctc.edu:2048/login?url=https://ezproxy.
pierce.ctc.edu:2057/docview/1622926920?accountid=2280.*”KILLINGBEST FRIEND PRANK.” YouTube.
Uploadedby Sam Pepper. Accessed on Nov. [email protected]”Dear Internet,” Twitter, 1 Jan.
2018, 7:00 p.m., https://twitter.com/loganpaul/status/948026294066864128.”LoganPaul’s fans in a nutshell.” Twitter. Uploadedby @KEEMSTAR, 1 Jan.
2018, 10:25 p.m., https://twitter.
com/keemstar/status/948077897012666374.Muscari,Mary. “Media Violence: Advice for Parents.” Pediatric Nursing,vol. 28, no. 6, 2002, pp.
585-91, eLibrary; Research Library, http://ezproxy.pierce.ctc.edu:2048/login?url=https://ezproxy.pierce.ctc.
edu:2057/docview/199389762?accountid=2280.Richards,Deborah, Patrina H. Y.
Caldwell, and Henry Go. “Impact of Social Media onthe Health of Children and Young People.” Journal of Paediatricsand Child Health, vol.
51, no. 12, 2015, pp. 1152-1157, Research Library,http://ezproxy.pierce.ctc.edu:2048/login?url=https://ezproxy.pierce.
ctc.edu:2101/10.1111/jpc.13023.Stokel-Walker.”More than a decade later, how do original YouTube stars feel about the site?” arstechnica.
11 Jun. 2017. https://arstechnica.com/features/2017/06/youtube-changed-my-life-a-pair-of-original-videostars-ponder-a-life-lived-online/.*”Wefound a dead body in the suicide forest.” YouTube.Uploaded by Logan Paul.
Accessed on 1 Jan. 2018.