Helpful Vs. Harmful
The Good, the Bad of Online Trends
October 7, 2021
WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SENSITIVE CONTENT FOR SOME
Online trends have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and come in many varieties as well. From dancing and outfits to food and gaming, online trends have managed to impact everyone in some way. However, as backlash to online trends increases, the question that now arises is how trends affect their target audience, and what trends to follow versus stay away from. Please be aware that there are sensitive topics in the following article.
Some online trends, such as live streaming and marketing, are harmless, and even beneficial for others. They are the reason for the rapid growth of social media and the modernization of society alike. Through social media marketing, for example, every business can expand its horizons and market successfully.
Additionally, these online trends are increasingly putting pressure on the need for inclusivity and diversity in society, brands are adopting new strategies to account for the level of diversity they are now pressured to apply. This ensures that new innovations are being made and that society is consistently amending its standards.
Another beneficial factor about online trends is that most of them continue to have some sort of impact on present and future endeavors alike. Instagram’s story feature, while it was created in 2016, still continues to have an impact on future endeavors, especially for marketing.
While most of the online trends are meant to expand business and the general media empire, some trends are for pure entertainment purposes. More commonly known as challenges, these kinds of trends are meant to serve as a pastime, as they typically consist of dance steps or experimentation of some sort. These have different kinds of names as well. Dance challenges are named after the song used while experimentation challenges are named after the substance used:
- STAY Dance Challenge: A trend that involves performing a choreographed dance to STAY by Justin Bieber and Kid LAROI
- Coke and Mentos Challenge: A trend that involves dousing a packet of Mentos into a large Coke bottle, and observing a reaction take place
Trends can also be related to video games and food as well:
- Among Us: Took place during quarantine, and involved the masses engaging in a video game called ‘Among Us’, a game in which players would have to rule out an imposter.
- Genshin Impact: Involved the masses engaging in a video game called ‘Genshin Impact’, a game in which players would take their avatar on an adventure in a fantasy world.
- Cloud Bread: A trend in which viewers would bake a colorful, fluffy bread that resembled a cloud, hence the name.
- Feta Pasta: A trend in which viewers would bake pasta with blocks of feta cheese and cherry tomatoes, making a new kind of pasta dish.
such as Among Us or Genshin Impact, and food, such as cloud bread. These trends were popular during the pandemic, and provided an excellent source of entertainment for all viewers alike. Entertainment trends are by far the most popular and well-liked trends that social media has to offer
While social media trends generally attempt to entertain audiences, the extent to which they go sometimes goes overboard, and can be dangerous and even illegal in some cases. These challenges involve the participant engaging in dangerous activities that could result in hospitalization, arrest or even death.
Some popular, dangerous challenges were:
- The Coronavirus Challenge– this challenge began in March of 2020, right when the COVID-19 pandemic started (hence the name). This involved the participant straight-up licking a toilet bowl, the purpose being to see if one could catch the virus as a result of engaging in such an unsanitary activity. It finally died out due to the amount of backlash it received.
- The Blue Whale challenge: Dubbed the ‘Suicide Challenge’, this particular challenge that started in 2019 was notorious for the amount of lives it took. The challenge was actually an online game that allegedly involved participants partaking in a list of 50 tasks, each getting increasingly deadly as the list goes on. Because of this, it nearly became a global crisis, affecting teenagers in the US, UK, and Russia, where it originated. After facing scrutiny from the global media, the game was taken down.
- Dry Scooping challenge: This challenge has been gaining popularity in recent months, and involves the participant scooping large amounts of protein or pre-workout powders without taking it with water. This raises health concerns, as pre-workouts contain high concentrations of both protein and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to the body if taken in high amounts. One woman suffered a heart attack as a result of this.
However, the dangerous challenges don’t stop there. Recently, another dangerous (and borderline illegal) challenge has risen to the top: the Devious Lick challenge. This is, unarguably, the most notorious challenge as of recently. Put in simple words, this online challenge straight-up encourages vandalism, theft and destruction of property. In fact, many schools and staff are discouraging this trend. Schools in Central Texas, such as Leander Middle School and Vandegrift High School, are even closing their bathrooms during passing periods to prevent this issue. Trends such as Devious Licks seem to be encouraging risky behavior in students that could lead to criminal charges in some cases as well.
While some online trends do promote positivity, these recent trends that have been coming out are causing major problems for students, as well as parents and teachers. That being said, serious consideration should be given to what kinds of trends students choose to follow, and to what extent they will follow those trends. Because some trends are actually more harmful than they seem to be.