socialmediaStory by Zakiya Austin, photo from CBS Paramount Domestic Television

 

“Cash me outside, how bow dat?”

This phrase has outlasted its fifteen minutes of fame, and has been sweeping the social media scene for about a month now. The original video featured Danielle Bregoli, a 13 year old “difficult” child, bragging about stealing cars, fighting, and being a “thug.” This interview originally took place on September 15, 2016, and the internet has just caught back up with her, reinstating her as the next banal instagram trend.

Since her rediscovery, her social media account has blown up. She was requested back for a follow up interview with Dr. Phil. Her original interview has been remixed into a repetitive and annoying hip-hop song, and she even has an app on Google Play and iTunes. Hundreds of thousands of teens and young adults have been liking and commenting on her videos and posts about how funny she is and how they want to be like her. Danielle has become an instant celebrity.

Many of the youth today are entirely too engrossed in the social media situation, glorifying every drop of ignorance that comes across their cell phone screen, and validating immoral behavior because it “looks cool.”

According to www.pewinternet.org, 88% of teens ages 12 to 17 own a cell phone. Technology has become an important part of the culture for American youth. As it advances, we reap the benefits in various aspects of our daily lives. Knowledge and use of technology is definitely commonplace but, collectively, the youth could use some brushing up on social media etiquette and common sense.

Along with tolerance and even encouragement of negative content, as proven by Danielle Bragoli and her internet antics, young people are going out of their way to criticize others. According www.bullyingstatistics.org, over half of young people have experienced cyberbullying and about 10 to 20 percent deal with it regularly. Cyberbullying can take many forms including sending mean messages or threats, spreading rumors online or over text, hacking someone’s account and sending aggressive or threatening messages on their behalf, pretending to be someone else or catfishing to hurt people, and circulating unflattering or sexually suggestive photos of someone.

When there’s no fear on conviction, it’s easy to say whatever comes to mind behind a computer screen, but one person’s carelessness could be hazardous to another person’s well being. Cyberbullying makes teens more at risk for low self esteem and suicide.

Teens are also becoming increasingly interested in apps and websites where they can reach out to people all over the world. This is any amazing technological advancement and it’s a resource that is often taken advantage of. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and Youtube have allowed thoughts and opinions to cross borders and affect others who are oceans away.

The price of this is the rising rate of cyberstalking and internet harassment. On dating apps like Tinder, Zoosk, Down and Lulu, there is the danger of online harassment as well as unwanted contact, as there are people who lurk and try to lure people in. The danger is greater for women, but men are not exempt from these dangers. Online safety is not taught at the rate it should be for the amount of people with online profiles.

As a generation, we need to be better about how we use the resources available. Our phones and the internet are marvelous inventions–some of the greatest of all time–but they can become our downfall if we let them.