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    TechnologyHow viral videos influence the idea that adolescents have of relationships

    How viral videos influence the idea that adolescents have of relationships

    If TikTok is characterized by something, it is because of its ability to make videos go viral. It is not necessary to have many followers and be very popular for content to reach the other side of the world and reach millions of views; Even if a user barely has friends on his profile, his video can reach the recommendations of millions of users. However, this platform also has another hallmark: the challenges (which, in addition, are one of the contents that go viral the most). Although talking about challenges brings to mind those that were very dangerous, such as the blue whale, there are others that seek humor, but may have a background that is not recommended for the youngest. This is how Arola Poch, psychologist, sexologist and expert in sexual education for young people, describes the challenge of kissing a friend without her consent and recording her reaction.

    The videos that join this challenge, which has lasted for almost a year and continues to go viral, are usually humorous: a friend is at home with her best friend and, suddenly, without his expecting it, she try to kiss him on the mouth. But the reactions that are found are of all kinds: from friends who accept it and the situation becomes the start of something else, to others who move away abruptly while the person who started it chases them or clings to them. While in some videos the two friends laugh, whether the kiss has been accepted or not, in others the anger is manifest. “There are those who may think it is silly, but it is not because it is skipping that consensus that there must be in all relationships and the values ​​behind a good sexual education. In this type of behavior that can be funny in a video, the background is not correct”, warns the sexologist.

    According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, located in Ohio (United States), with this challenge, “many adolescents do not understand that kissing by force is a form of sexual violence. In some subsequent videos, the adolescents reported feeling confused, uncomfortable, and violated for those kisses without consent”.

    For Luis de la Herran, a specialist in clinical psychology, “if a 12-year-old adolescent watches a video of this type and knows that their reference adults take their relationships seriously, so there are limits that they cannot cross and there is trust, intimacy, etc., that is going to grate on him, even if he is 9 years old, he is going to say ‘this is not right’ and he is not going to do it. He’s going to leak it because he’s had the prior learning model.”

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    The learning model and the values ​​that the adolescent acquires at home and at school are essential for them to interpret in one way or another what they see on social networks. As the psychologist explains, the cerebral cortex, which deals with the critical spirit or planning, is the last part that matures in adolescents, which makes this control and accompaniment more necessary. “The key is how we prepare teenagers to be able to face that content. The simile of the rain occurs to me: if you go out in the middle of a storm with summer clothes, you are going to get wet for sure. If the rain represents something negative, it will harm you. If they have taught us to put on boots, a raincoat and an umbrella, we will be better protected”, he explains.

    To this need, in the opinion of Arola Poch, is added that of educating on sexuality. He says that, as a result of the song “That monster is not my friend”, which became popular through an advertisement for the series Stranger Things, on Netflix, “some users took out a condom and said: ‘this monster is not my friend ‘. That may sound funny, it may go viral, which in the end is what you are looking for in this type of video, but the message that is being transmitted is quite harmful. We must not forget that they are teenagers, that they are jokes, but that is taking hold and it is difficult to control”. Hence, she defends the importance of counteracting it with a good sexual education. “Sometimes with some grace and some song ideas are transmitted that are not the most appropriate,” she insists.

    Nationwide Children’s Hospital has also discussed a challenge called “Iknowsomethingyoudont,” which included videos joking about secrets, including in relationships, or referring to the stalking or harassment on social networks from one member of the couple to the other to obtain information about their previous relationships through their profiles. Another, called #deviouslicks, something like ‘devil robberies’, ended with numerous acts of vandalism in American schools, but also included challenges such as kissing a friend’s girlfriend, showing one’s genitals or touching another person’s chest. In this case, TikTok blocked searches for that hashtag, so that no matter how old the user is, they can no longer find videos related to the challenge.

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    Among the measures that TikTok has implemented while it has become popular is family synchronization, which allows parents to link their account with that of their children and decide if they can carry out searches, manage the privacy of the account of minors, prevent private messages from strangers from reaching them and activate Restricted Mode so that videos that may not be suitable are not recommended to young people.

    If the adolescent in question, when creating his TikTok account, puts his real age, between 13 (the minimum age to be able to use the application) and 18 years, there will also be searches that he will not be able to perform, such as “sex”, ” sexy” or “naked”, according to the TikTok rules. The problem lies in whether or not that adolescent has indicated her true age because it is as easy to falsify it as to enter another date of birth. It depends on the will of the young person and the supervision of his parents or guardians.

    Even so, and with all the measures available, adolescents can find themselves not with content that is not appropriate for their age, but with any video with an undesirable background, but that does not violate the rules of the platform’s community, for example, because it is not an explicit content. As the experts consulted insist, it is a background that hides humor or the intrinsic machismo of videos that both other adolescents and adults upload.

    “I am a firm defender of the fact that adolescents have criteria, that if a boy or a girl is educated in values ​​such as empathy, respect and equality, by watching a video they will not suddenly forget all those values. and they will be able to understand what suits them and what doesn’t. That does not mean that with such popular and viral content there are no people who fall for it, because at that time of life the power of the group is important, as well as feeling accepted and the popularity that social networks give ”, explains the sexologist. .

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    That feeling of belonging brings, according to Luis de la Herran, tranquility to the adolescent. “Surprisingly, at this point in the film we find many macho behaviors at very early ages, which are apparently normalized. I believe that the contribution that we can make from Psychology is to say: what are we adults doing with that? ”, He raises.

    If a teenager spends many hours connected to the screens, “we are contrasting the half hour of learning at dinner from Monday to Friday, where parents give a certain model, one hour of sex, half of tiktoks macho and another three from more internet. If at the same time we have not offered him ways to deal with it, we have a greater chance that he will end up thinking that it is normal”, explains the psychologist, who gives as an example that, when they are in a relationship, when the boyfriend asks the young woman for her mobile and He asks who he has been with or demands that he block other boys on his social networks, if there has not been a learning of other values, he will see it as something normal.

    It is precisely a type of content that is seen a lot on the platform: reactions of how a jealous boyfriend behaves, challenges to test the couple… Some may treat the subject with humor, but in many cases it is about content and reactions real. One of the recurring issues is how looking at the couple’s mobile phone reveals an infidelity.

    “Here I see that certain ideas about what healthy relationships are like have not been dismantled. Behind those videos of ‘let’s see how they react out of jealousy’ is that Test that if he feels jealous it is that he loves me. The idea behind it is that jealousy is a sign of love”, laments Arola Poch, who adds: “I think this happens more on TikTok because the average age is a bit lower, it is easier for the messages to go viral. videos and promote this type of videos and challenges”.

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    Source: EL PAIS

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