Popular culture frequently descends to the lowest levels of behavior to entertain modern audiences already accustomed to “shocking” content.
YouTuber Logan Paul recently attracted international attention when he released a video blog recorded in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, a site on the slopes of Mt. Fuji known for the significant number of suicides that take place within its boundaries each year.
In the video, Paul stumbled upon the body of a suicide victim while diverting from the forest’s established trail. The young internet celebrity included close-ups of the victim and even used an image of the body in the video’s thumbnail link.
Paul received heavy criticism from all areas of society, but received little kickback from a critical group, his young audience. The video compiled more than six million views and hundreds of thousands of likes while “trending” before finally being removed, hours after its upload.
The vlog shocked many but is unsurprising when considering YouTube’s monetary reward system. Paul understood what he was doing would get attention and viewers; he just wasn’t prepared for the amount of negative feedback he would receive.
Paul’s channel, with over 16 million subscribers, consistently produces content tailored to push the limits of acceptable behavior, even to devaluing the importance of human life in his controversial vlog.
The video was a prime example of everything wrong with cultural sensationalism.
Our social media pages are filled with videos by those searching for the next big thing in internet fame, and we have become so desensitized to much of the content that we often fail to recognize serious deficiencies in behavior.
The entertainment we consume affects the way we think, beyond what we may even recognize. If we frequently consume garbage, we will eventually produce garbage ourselves.
Children and teens growing up in the “click-bait” era are learning behavior from those intent on bringing in viewers.
As Christians, we must do our best to avoid rewarding the efforts of the sensationalists. We must protect our minds from the desensitized. We must protect our hearts from the harmful content that fills so much of what we encounter on the web every day.
Don’t allow behavioral lows that you would never accept in person to sneak past your defenses just because you are online.
Paul’s core audience wasn’t prepared to accept such reckless and graphic content overnight. Hundreds of videos pushing the edge of acceptable behavior paved the way.
Don’t place yourself in a situation where you have to ask, how did I get here?