Originally published 4 January, 2018

YouTube Only? Suicide forest, live streaming and weird NSFW videos.

Have I got your attention?

Most likely it happened when you read the title and I sparked off a myriad of brain connections that elicited a memory about some of these topics. Good; you’re almost a typical candidate for how the internet can trap you into addiction, porn and depressions through social media use…. Only kidding…..or am I?

Here’s my rant about this today and yes I’ve noticed some of my posts have been a bit ranty, but that’s what happens when I become frustrated, angry, sad and defensive of my clients and in general people whom I have based Cybertrauma theory on.

You see the internet is a business. FACT. YouTube/Facebook/Twitter and LinkedIn are business too, FACT. The thing with business is their ultimate aim is to bring in money. Lots of it. As much as they can. Ethics, Values and Impact are all debatable here and yet I understand that the ethics of one company may not reflect another. Do they care about the impact their business has on the world? Perhaps only as far as can, I make them money? Perhaps in terms of forward-thinking; a grand life for designing something in the here and now is overpowered by the thinking processes of self-regulation versus aspirations and greed? Perhaps I am cynical, however, I do think that honestly designers of the platforms and apps that appear on the internet are not concerned with long term impact if they can design something that will earn them big bucks. I know I would because I am a human too. It would be hard to resist no doubt?

So recently there was this ‘thing’ that appeared on the internet whereby a journalist (not some small-time researcher such as myself or other academics who study this stuff for a living) decided to write about some YouTube videos being unsuitable for children. No shit sherlock!! This article went ‘viral’ (Interesting how this term is now used). I sat in awe as this is one tiny part of my theory of cybertrauma and for a while, I sat thinking you’re kidding me, now ‘we’ (some of the internet) outcry about a phenomenon that has been around since the internet began and I’ve not to this date seen much of an implementation to reduce these videos or remove them regardless of the size of the article and outcry? #moneymaker

How interesting and what about…. Live streaming of a number of issues of which I will speak about just one here and have previously written a blog on. What about Snuff movies? What about sites that teach about heinous acts? What about the stuff that isn’t on YouTube, why are “we” not upset about this? What are “we” actually doing about it? Can the internet providers prevent this? (highly unlikely and the topic of a cyber synapse podcast soon) #maybenotmoneymaker

Then came the flurry of articles (mostly opinionated and often citing less than significant research articles) in the media about how social media is addictive; I argue it’s not. It’s more complicated than this and is an overlap of attachment behaviours and ‘addiction in laypersons language’ not the Psychopathological aspect. But I’m sure ‘we’ can make money out of this? Perhaps even offer ‘Interventions’ for this issue? #moneymaker

Now we have psychopathology of ‘gaming disorder’ that will soon mean that this term will be used to ‘diagnose’ normal friendship behaviours when the medium between people is a PC, console or smartphone. I don’t actually remember learning about the Mental Health disorder of telephonic communication addiction or electronic communication disorder but I do know it was a normal part of growing up to use the telephone for ages and perhaps even consecutively for days on end, moreover, this is how people actually communicated with each other, you know like to have conversations and be social…. Oh-oh, there’s that addictive word again! Once again ‘we’ (some of the internet) will now use this to begin providing quackery interventions, clinics and ‘recovery centres’ #moneymaker

Now we have terms (all being made up as we speak) like ‘social media-related anxiety’ and ‘socmed depression’, ‘socmed addiction’ and many more. All which provide the internet with judgemental language which can be imposed on the younger generations by those who invented/designed it. #irony. They could probably spend time designing apps to help with these terms? #moneymaker*Today I saw an article that talks about young people not being equipped to deal with ‘socmed pressure’ (runs off to add to cyber dictionary as this may well be different to the real world pressure?…I think not but I do suggest it’s enhanced somewhat)

The point I want to now make is about how the internet is a #moneymaker environment and this is its primary function/purpose. It’s quite sobering and disturbing what I am about to discuss so please take care of yourself when and after reading this. (with that comment I now know I have your attention so please be aware your curiosity may get the better of you).

Recently Logan Paul a Youtuber with fifteen million subscribers…. #moneymakerforYoutube #moneymakerforhim, Of whom the demographic is likely to be aged under 25 when the brain is not fully developed by the way and is impacted by traumatic images far more than adults in terms of neuroscience which I won’t go into here, and of course anyone under the age of 25 is clearly ‘addicted and can’t resist watching Youtube’ (I’m seriously considering taking up sarcasm as an academic form right now).

Anyway, back to the 15 million subscribers and the recent video that Logan decided to film, bring back to his production team which includes editors, publishers and so on. This was a morbid display of him illegally entering Suicide Forest in Japan, whereby he is heard to say on the video something along the lines of “I wonder if I’ll see a suicide” (I mean c’mon was this scripted? Now I’m thinking I wonder if there will be bread at the bakers? hmm). Well indeed there was a recent suicide in the forest approximately 100m from the entrance and Logan is seen to walk up to the persons body and begin discussing his surprise, and adds in but did you know he also has more videos on his website and merchandise etc.? .#moneymaker. (I’ve not heard the exact wording but this is the gist of it) He is joined by others and they film the person’s body and belongings and continue chatting, but perhaps as s gin of his level of knowledge touted as respect, he does blur out the persons face. Because that’s how to get past the filters (A bit like the black mirror episode I recently watched- Top job btw Charlie Brooker may season 5 hurry up!)

The aspect about this video that’s morbid, sad and disrespectful occurs on two levels. One those who filmed it, edited it and produced it. Two the fact that YouTube trended it. Yep- they decided to put it into trending whereby anyone who was not on Logans subscriber list might have seen it too. 15 million-plus and counting.

It has been taken down after an outcry by ‘we’ of the internet and this includes celebs. I’m left wondering though how much money this made through the number of views for YouTube/Logans team in the 24 hours or so that it was up and most importantly the effect this has had on children and young people as this conversation has been in my therapy room this week. Furthermore who decided along the route from the initial filming through to the process of appearing on YouTube and them deciding to monetise on this where the values, ethics and respect that this person deserved? Why did no-one seemingly say I don’t want to be part of this, please don’t put it up etc? Where was the human decision?

This video exists outside of YouTube and therefore is still accessible and not to forget that others can now make money out of this and will do so. It’s about the money, the business, the fame, the shock and so on.

To misquote the journalist James Bridle: There’s nothing wrong with the Internet. I say “There’s something awry about society”. The internet does not currently decide to film, edit, produce and upload videos of this nature nor does it then go onto monetise it by labelling it as trending. That’s a human being that does that.

On or off YouTube it doesn’t really matter as there will always be a platform and always someone willing to be a #moneymaker out of it. Never mind the consequences?

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