YouTube has been around for decades and is one of the top social media platforms. It is responsible for many household names like Justin Bieber and Issa Rae, however, YouTube is no longer just cute cat videos and make-up tutorials.
Recently, the famous YouTuber Logan Paul was under fire for an emotionally insensitive video on his channel. Paul took a trip to Japan’s Suicide Forest where he stumbled across one of the trees’ victims. He revealed the hanging body on camera for all viewers to see.
“He’s crazy. He just wants to be seen,” said Florida A&M University’s sociology professor Helen Brethauer-Gay.
YouTube ended up cutting Paul’s revenue stream and the video has since been deleted. Nevertheless, his antics give the impression that maybe YouTubers are going a bit too far for views.
“I’m not even sure how they didn’t delete his entire account after that,” said third-year health science student Markeith Williams.
One problem with videos like these is that it leads to more videos being made of the sort. There are videos still being posted by other YouTubers with content that’s just as offensive, like fake acid attacks and fake burglaries.
“You always have the copycat effect,” said Brethauer-Gay. “There are people out there that will see someone else get attention and then they will do the same or worse just to get the attention.”
YouTube couples are notorious for pulling pranks on one another. A famous YouTube channel DK4L released a video in where the girlfriend, De’arra, pranked her boyfriend, Ken into thinking she was murdered. The video depicted a view of a room covered in fake blood, a seemingly unresponsive body, and a tormented boyfriend.
“I saw a girl cut off her boyfriend’s hair as a ‘prank’. That’s not a prank, his hair is real deal gone,” said YouTuber and third-year secondary education student Victasia Parker.
However, it’s not only couples that participate in these trickster exploits. Pranks also get played on friends, coworkers, family members, and even strangers.
“The craziest YouTube prank I’ve seen was when a guy pretending to home invade one of his friends and the friend pull a gun out on him and almost shot him,” said Williams.
While the pranks might seem like fun and games on the outside, the after effects of such behavior could be damaging.
“People don’t have boundaries anymore, they don’t think beyond the moment and the lasting repercussions of actions. That’s psychological harm to someone,” said Brethauer-Gay.
While there are YouTube channels that go to drastic measures in order to get views, there are still many YouTubers like Victasia Parker who are gaining viewers and subscribers in far less extreme ways.
“It can be pretty intense if you’re worried about the numbers and thinking about how everyone could be watching your video views as they remain stagnant. Once you get past the numbers and just do it because you genuinely enjoy the process, which isn’t easy, then everything else will follow,” said Parker.