Violent Videos on Youtube: Has it Gone Too Far?

Okay it’s time for a little bit of an opinionated rant. This whole craze of violence on Youtube makes me sick. Kids are now attacking strangers in the street; bashing them, kicking them in the head and then filming it an putting it on Youtube for a bit of a laugh. It’s called ‘happy slapping’ and it is something that sickens me right to my core. If you don’t know about it take a look at this pseudo-documentary video:

But the thing that makes me especially upset is that Youtube allows these videos to stay online. If you type in ‘school fight’ you will get 40,200 videos of kids gang bashing weaker kids, organized after school fights and a whole host of other violent things.

In March of this year a girl under the age of 15 was sentenced to two years in a youth detention center because her and her friends murdered a homeless man while filming it on their mobile phone. If you watch the video of this cowardly attack you can hear the girl saying things like ‘kick him in the head’ and so on. They do and the man dies. All for a bit of fun.

This whole thing really disturbs me. I don’t understand how anyone can find bashing an unsuspecting person entertaining. Is it a sex thing? Is it a power thing? Or is it just that these kids had shit parents? I really would like to know what motivates such young, white-eyed teenagers do something so filthy.

Back to Youtube. Initially Youtube was supposed to be a clean service. It really isn’t. You can find millions of videos related to drugs, sex, violence and a whole host of other things. Anyone can access them. I heard some kids I babysit talking about how they go home and look up school bashings on Youtube for a bit of a laugh. Needless to say these kids are also very violent themselves.

The last time I checked kicking a person in the face and gang bashing them with your friends was illegal. So, why is Youtube allowed to broadcast and promote these crimes? And don’t tell me they don’t promote them! When you look up ‘happy slapping’ you get ten ‘related videos’ in the sidebar begging you to watch more illegal attacks.

This post has no point other than to register my objection to the whole thing. I think it is sad that people find this amusing and that no one really cares that it is going on.

Does anyone have anymore knowledge about the whole thing? I would love to hear some legal or psychological opinions relating to the videos being on Youtube and why this ‘happy slapping’ trend is growing in popularity.

10 thoughts on “Violent Videos on Youtube: Has it Gone Too Far?

  1. hey Daily Minder!
    nice post! i have to say that i really dont think the answer lies curbing what is on youtube.
    it is very similar to the violence on tv argument.
    which ofcourse makes alot of logical sense (except to the TV execs).

    the answer surely has to be one of personal responsibility.

    taking responsibility for the way your own mind is, and for your own thinking, and in particular taking responsibility for the influences you yourself put on yourself.

    and in the case of people that are dependent at the moment on others to make those choices (kids) it is up to them.

    to me it is too dis-empowering and blame-gaming to say it is you-tube. and lets be honest, if kids cannot make the choice to not do it themselves (or be inspired not to, by sticks and carrots and charisma from their parents, until they have the habits themselves..) then there is no real way you can stop them. they will find a way. you know you did. (i sure as hell know i did!)

    openness is also part of the answer (in my humble opinion).

    i think censorship ends up having the opposite effect.
    (but, call me a hypocrite, but i dont think people should watch that kind of sh*t.) but, if you are afraid of it, which to me censorship smacks of, then you just drive it into the shadows.. which might be even worse.

    i think kids need inspiring alternatives. things that they can believe in. things that they can get passionate about. they need someone to show them what it means to believe in and passionately follow a dream.

    all this kind of stuff only exists/thrives where there is a vacuum of entertainment.

    guarantee you a block of kids that is having a run of skateboarding addiction or shooting hoops till waay after dark.. or what-the-f*ck ever.. is not stooped over the PC downloading school bashings on youtube..

  2. JB thanks for your comment (essay).

    The Buddha said that avarice causes more harm than almost anything else. I think I agree. Perhaps these kids are just bored. However, I was bored a lot as a kid and I never went bashing homeless people. Are times changing or did I just have good parents who taught me that stuff like that was wrong? I’m not sure.

    I still think that making videos like this and others too accessible on the net is a problem. When I was growing up we couldn’t see MA 15+ movies but now kids can get X rated stuff with the click of a button.

    Who knows the answer…

  3. I totally know the answer for the WHY this is happening question – the main thing our society worships is FAME. It really doesn’t matter what you’re famous for, what matters is to be well known to your friends, etc. – and the younger you are, the more power the attraction, since that’s when you really crave affirmation that you matter and are accepted. That’s why we have the Paris Hiltons that are just famous for being famous, with no particular talent at all other than beauty and money – but they’re famous and so everyone wants to be like them.

    At the same time, people HATE the rich and famous. They are waiting for one false step that shows weakness (which translates into the sin of “being like everyone else”) to turn on them and watch with glee when they fall and lose it all. To me, the whole reality show phenomenon really supports my point.

    All that being said, I have NO solution to recommend for it and most probably it will only get worse. I think that people growing up in the internet information age where any news spreads like wildfire and world wide fame can come and go in a matter of days just feel insignificant, and that’s what’s really fueling the whole thing. Maybe all you can do on a micro-world level is to make the people in your lives FEEL significant, and hope that there’s a “trickle up” effect – but maybe that will be enough 😉

  4. Doug that is a really good point. I hadn’t thought about that. Perhaps this lust for fame is what is making people desensitized to violence and sex because things move so fast and people are getting famous for less and less.

    Currently in Australia our Senate is looking into the pornographic nature of music video clips that are played on Saturday morning when kids are watching. Seems that sex and violence are everywhere and now even our reps. are looking in to it.

    Thanks for the comment – loved it.

  5. I also think there’s an absence of empathy in a lot of young people, and I don’t know how we can put it there. The kids who beat up that poor homeless man and filmed it — they see a “thing” when they look at him, not a human being who could be their father or brother and whose bad luck could be their own some day. The objectification of human beings portrayed in reality shows doesn’t help — in so many of them, the idea is to watch the participants suffer humiliation (and worse).

    And while I understand censorship is a slippery slope, and like JB I would normally be very wary of it, I don’t think YouTube should allow videos of *crimes* to appear on its site. Is it really acceptable for them to host videos of beatings? Murders? What about rapes? Torture? The critical point is that many of these crimes were committed purely for the sake of the public notoriety granted by sites like YouTube — video sites of this kind actually generate many of these acts. We are not talking about censoring here, we are talking about removing the impetus for the vicious behavior.

  6. WOW…
    I never realized how violet YouTube was until you brought it to my attention. Of course I have seen/read the stories, I am not that much of a recluse…:) But, I was under the assumption that although the kids were posting these videos YouTube was ‘pulling’ them. What is that age old saying about assuming??? 😉
    I too feel that raising children is the responsibility of the parents. No longer can the parents just sit quietly by hoping it is a ‘phase’. They need to be aware of what their children are doing at all times. They need to monitor their children’s internet exposure as well as their television and movie veiwing.
    I know, this is not always possible, especially in the two-income family norm that is impossible to ‘break’ due to the economic state.
    So, I guess what I am saying, is that it is also OUR responsibility to the future adults of our world. We all need to set a good example and we need to show these kids that this behavior is not acceptable, nor is it at all humane.
    Now how to go about this, I am not certain. But, I do agree that something does need to change.
    Thanks for listening!
    🙂

  7. That kind of activity is so appalling that kids should already know thats wrong. My parents never told me it was wrong to hit homeless people, they never had to because that sort of thing was so far “out there” on the “things to do today” list that if they had to tell me that was wrong, then something would have to be seriously wrong with me in the first place for them to have to tell me that. Where I come from if I did such a thing as a kid I would not be here as an adult typing this sentence right now.

  8. The point Smitty makes here that in his time no one had to explain to children that hitting homeless people is wrong and that “if I did such a thing as a kid I would not be here as an adult typing this sentence right now” is totally correct. Yes, a child growing to an adult that has no sense of basic right and wrong has other names – “inmate” and “sociopath” are two that come to mind.

    The point that Patricia Plunkett about “the objectification of human beings portrayed in reality shows doesn’t help” is correct, our total obsession with the media has I think for some people blurred the lines between real life and television,etc. I’ve noticed it a lot with people “interacting” on the internet on dating sites, etc. – they don’t feel like this is a real person that they are “talking” to and will say heartless and nasty things they would never say to a “real person’s” face. I think the only real effective “punishment” for these girls that beat this homeless person is community service where there is some chance that they can connect to these people’s reality where they are not just a soundbyte on the news to them. They may well be too far gone, but at least society would get some value out of them other than sending them to “prison school”.

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