Anybody who is on social networking sites would have noticed the most recent viral trend, the #neknomination.
For those that are unfamiliar, it started out simply as a challenge game where one individual films themself sculling an alcoholic beverage of choice, then nominates two friends to do the same. With the way Facebook is set up now, these short clips became viral rapidly. Soon after, people were trying to outdo the challenger by sculling an alcoholic beverage whilst performing a stunt.
A wide variety of stunts have been performed in the nomination clips. From jumping off bridges, to swallowing live goldfish, eating chilli’s and peppers, to snorting pre workout supplements before consuming a beverage. People have even had darts thrown into them, piercing their skin whilst performing the act. Videos have even surfaced of people drinking others urine or vomit.
Then people started going above and beyond, which began to raise awareness as some took to the streets and performed their nomination videos whilst driving. One occasion where a man travelled in the boot of a car before the car stopped for him to get out, scull a beer, before he gets back in for the car to drive off raised awareness of Melbourne Police.
It may have started as harmless fun, but this has escalated into something much more. When you begin to endanger others lives just to fulfill these challenges, it has gone too far.
Ironically, these short clips have surfaced and gained popularity in the same week that Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the issue of the binge drinking culture that now seems so prevalent in Australia. The PM also discussed the growing issue of alcohol fueled violence in the community, following the tragic passing of Daniel Christie, who was victim of an alcohol fueled attack on New Year’s Eve.
The fact that we are glorifying drinking and erratic behaviour by posting on the internet with praise to the people sets an example it’s acceptable. This precedent set leads to more people doing so and in my opinion, even influences the next generation do so, probably at an increased rate. I can’t speak on behalf of the broad community, but I’m sick of young kids behaving like idiots.
I still don’t think everybody understands the power of social networking, everything posted can be seen by countless amounts of people in a very short amount of time and you may not realise it, but things we post can influence others. To create change, we must start with ourselves. We need to stop idolising, encouraging and promoting people for performing stupid acts and wake up to and support real topics.