I would be willing to wager that most of you reading this are probably asking, “What is Viral Aggression?”
Viral Aggression is a phrase that I am using to pinpoint and bring attention to a new form of violence and aggression that is eating away at the moral compass of teens growing up the this YouTube generation. Listen, this is not one of those anti-social media posts. I am a big advocate for responsibly using social media, for adults and teens. This is something different. Something far more dangerous.
Viral Aggression is what happens when teens and pre-teens record random acts of violence for the purposes of achieving some level of internet fame.
What is particularly alarming about Viral Aggression is the fact that in many cases there is no typical motivating factors behind the violence. These acts of escalating violence are not motivate by race, anger, or even opportunity. Even scarier, the nature of recording these videos shows us clearly the events that lead up to the act of violence, and many times the perpetrator is not just happy, but eagerly awaiting the act with a disturbing level of joy and anticipation.
You only have to Google “Knockout Game”to see that this “game” is becoming all too real. The game involves teens being recorded sneaking up on unsuspecting individuals and punching them in the face, with the intention of knocking them unconscious. Again, this is not a robbery, it’s not a racially motivated attack, it’s not retaliation either. The purpose behind this dangerous form of “entertainment” is internet celebrity, and bragging rights when it comes to the number of engaged viewers of the video.
The reason for the act of violence committed on another person is for the purpose of uploading the video to social media sites like Youtube or WoldStar, in order to receive “hits” or “likes” for the content.
You read that correctly. Teens are being recorded committing random acts of violence in order to regularly post edited clips, which are quickly ranked against other similar clips, in order to determine perceived online popularity.
The entire system is based on likes and views used as a way to validate physical, verbal, and emotional assaults. It amounts to perfectly orchestrated, escalating in severity, self absorbed acts of violence. The desire to be the best, at anything, and a demonstrated lack of concern for the personal safety of other people, is a dangerous combination. Violence begets violence. Victimized teens are going to retaliate if possible, and violence tends to quickly escalate beyond mere fisticuffs. There are already more than a few current news stories that feature teen fights and brawls ending in gunfire, stabbings, and escalating acts of violence. This trend is going to continue as long as teens are seeking popularity and validation at the expense of innocent victims.
Just so we are all on the same page, Viral Aggression is not limited to random acts of violence being perpetrated under the guise of a “game”.
The term includes any and all acts of violence filmed and uploaded with the intent to create a hit video, or, “go viral”. A quick scan of sites like Youtube, Worldstar, and Daily Motion, and you can find thousands of videos featuring teens being recorded while committing acts of violence. 99% of these videos are uploaded by someone who was in attendance, typically filming the act and encouraging the violence to continue.
A few parents may read this and think that this could not possibly reflect their teen. However, Facebook sites like “Ghetto Fights & Crazy Videos” have over 2,800,000 likes, and over 88,000 fans talking about the site at any given time. Clearly someone is watching them in record numbers.
A similar video on WorldStarHipHop feature two teen girls fighting each other. The video ends with one girl smashing the other girls head off off the concrete repeatedly. That video currently has over 700,000 views, and it’s one of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of fight videos posted for the world to view.
(I did not post the actual fight video because I do not want to contribute to the views and fame seeking behavior of whoever posted the video).
Have you experienced Viral Aggression first hand? Send us a message and share your story. What do you think we can do to curb this dangerous new trend?