If you are reading this you are either a cat or a human. (Insert well-known phrase about cats and curiosity!)
For the purposes of this blog though let’s assume you’re a human. Who wanted to know what this was about. You were warned though not to look and here you are making your way through the text.
So let me make my blog point clear and begin with the recent news that Facebook is going to add warnings to graphic videos and prevent them from auto-playing to > 18-year-olds until you click that you want to watch it. So don’t do it, no seriously it may shock you, it may offend you or upset you, seriously DONT DO IT! if you are a teenager or younger… YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED!!…. so….DONT DO IT!!!!!
Okay, so now you know that you’re definitely a curious human and you’ve got this far into the text because you might just have made the link that I am now going to elaborate on.
Humans possess characteristics such as curiosity that are intriguing to me to research, communicate to you the reader and also talk about in therapy and here we are:
Humans are nosey and curios to the N’th degree, but do they really want to see/feel/experience what the ‘thing’ is?
Example 1. Rubbernecking at an accident. Curiosity..Check!
Example 2. There are indeed people who seek out excitement or fear in a form that they can control. It is suggested that children who live with domestic violence, trauma, abuse and those who are not as well developed in Emotional Intelligence which covers areas like cognition, self-control and emotional regulation. (=being able to control their emotions) will seek out experiences that they feel they are in control of and are able to manage, for example, watching a scary movie. Curiosity..Check!
Example 3. Sometimes young people who are not in these environments and would be called ‘Normal’ (whatever that actually means) even seek out the thrill of “not being able to manage, for example, joy riding, roller coasters and drugs. Curiosity..Check!
We know this through the numerous research papers and texts that talk about risk-taking in young people. This is because their brains are going through physical changes from early puberty to approximately 25 years of age and risk-taking is a normal part of this maturation.
Anyway back to the curiosity bit.
Most parents, teachers and anyone who has ever encountered a child will tell you if you say “you cannot”, “you shouldn’t”, “Don’t do it” and so on, the likelihood is a child WILL. Period. And So will Adults.
So Facebook is implementing a system whereby warnings will appear on videos for those that are registered as 18+ (A further discussion to be had here but not now) that contain graphic images or content…WHO ON EARTH WILL BE MONITORING EVERY VIDEO UPLOADED NOW AND IN THE FUTURE?? HOW ON EARTH IS THIS EVEN GOING TO BE POSSIBLE? ah, wait..its going to be up to the person who ‘uploads’ the video. Nicely done Facebook, nicely done, shirking the responsibility there! (see recent articles in the media which explain that a spokesperson from Facebook says “we ask people to warn their audience”) So this in reality is not going to be happening in the way it has been portrayed. I have much more to say on the videos and how they appear and how they could appear but this is not the blog for that.
Furthermore, the warning is likely to contain the words “Are you sure you want to see this?”
Well, of course, your curiosity will be piqued by this very sentence! At this point and based on you reaching this far in my blog because you are a curios human a very intricate system in yours and most peoples brain begins. Self-talk may go something along the lines of either:
Person A: “I’m NOT watching it” : That’s the end of that and person A does not watch and continues about his/her social media business.
“it could be awful”
“yes, it could…how exciting!”
“Do I REALLY want to see this?”
”……are you a chicken?”
“what about if its a video of.……?” Insert any number of cognitive distortions and thinking here based on your previous life experiences
“ah what the heck…I’ll just have a peek and if I don’t like it ill turn it off”
The video plays and you probably freeze, watching but not wanting to, maybe panic sets in and you try to turn it off fumbling at the keys or scrolling to hide it from view.
“OMG!!!! Why did I just watch THAT????”
In some/most cases and nearly ALL cases with young people
Most probably, even if its the type that makes your blood boil with anger at a view/opinion you have just heard spoken, or it is an image you have witnessed or indeed actually been traumatised by as per the Psychological definition. (this would include feelings of nausea, anxiety, horror, anger/rage and the list goes on)
So Facebook, (and other social media sites) IMHO you’re late, way too late to start with this, approximately 7 years to be truthful. This should have been in place way back when you started becoming popular in 2007. Videos that depict violent images, graphic scenes, torture, child, people and animal cruelty should have been banned in the first place. Not because I disagree with the content per se and not because I disagree with free speech or condemnation of this type of violence in society. Its the psychological, emotional, social and furthermore the physical damage to the brain that has probably occurred to people who would not necessarily be exposed to these types of videos throughout the last 7 years, unless they made the active choice to go looking for it. The likelihood is younger people will find a way to access these videos and this will have an effect on the population of the younger generation of the Facebook community who see these videos. This is because children brains are not able to handle this kind of trauma. To be honest no-one’s brain is really equipped for this. We are possibly and probably de-sensitising the youth of today to graphic images, which encourages them to seek higher levels of this kind of stimulation in order to get the same feeling of excitement and fear. Perhaps even copying the videos as some research suggests. (see above for reasoning!). By allowing the videos to exist on Facebook the guarantee is young people WILL see them, regardless of the number of warnings or measures put in place now.
Inserts saying about “horses, gates and bolts”