On a daily basis, people all over the world are either tweeting, updating statuses on Facebook, uploading a "selfie” on Instagram, or editing a video for Vine. Social media has emphasized openly expressing yourself and sharing you with the world. There's nothing wrong with freedom of expression, but just how far will this generation stretch the limits?
There are positive aspects, yet good reasons for concern when it comes to social media and the open display of explicit and graphic content.
“Well, I like WorldStar because it’s where I get info and they have funny videos. Of course everybody knows about the other videos where you have to be 18 or older to watch,” said Amari Hart, a Senior Business Administration student from St. Petersburg, Fla.
Hart uses popular urban media site WorldStarHipHop.com frequently as a news and entertainment source. Hart added that there are no real restrictions on those videos with nudity and graphic content. Anyone can just click enter and watch, which poses a concern for the young teens getting exposed to such content so early.
There has been a lot of criticism and scrutiny over the content on WorldStar with regard to violence and language. Viewers enter the site well aware of what lies ahead and do not hesitate to comment on what they see, so what’s the real issue?
“When you show that realness to the public, some don’t like to hear or see it. With WorldStar, I like to keep it real and show people what’s happening outside their homes; what people like to sweep under the rug,” said Lee “Q” O’Denat, founder and C.E.O. WorldStarHipHop in an interview with Andrew Hickey of Acclaim magazine.
Q illustrated his point by speaking on the footage from the Rodney King case to exemplify the significance of documenting the truth that he claims people don’t want to hear or see, “If it wasn’t for that cameraman showing that police brutality how would you know?”
Rachelle Battle, a Junior Criminal Justice student from Palm Beach, Fla. commented on how she feels social media and reality TV has affected the morals of privacy. “I feel as though in today’s generation, we have become too comfortable with being in and wanting to know everybody’s business and it’s sad that we find other people’s pain and turmoil entertaining.”
We know that social media has its down side, but how about the perks?
Quinton Bowers, a Senior Electronic Engineering Technology student from Leesburg, Fla. expressed his perspective when asked to reflect on the pros and cons of social networks.
“The pros are that they create awareness with information about upcoming events and campus news, it’s entertaining, it can help boost a person’s self-esteem and it helps build your network; but the cons are that the content can get way too explicit and just like it can make you feel good about yourself, it can also make you feel depressed and insecure with who you are because of what you see.”
Sure videos, pictures, status updates, and tweets are enough to tell everybody’s business twice, but our conundrum doesn’t end there. Another key factor for the lack of privacy in today’s society is entertainment television, specifically reality TV.
“By the way, I don’t support WorldStar and I don’t support reality shows,” said Battle.
Everyday families are presented with episodes of glamorized celebrities whose lives become a spectacle and we the public document and observe their every move.
When it boils down to it, who do we blame for the lack of privacy in today’s society? Do we blame the big companies for just giving us what we want? Do we blame Hollywood for its bittersweet entertainment? Or do we blame ourselves for wanting to let it all hang out for the world to see?