Social media has changed the way people interact with the world around them. Thanks to the rise of smartphones and tablets, people can snap images and share them with their peers in a matter of seconds. Instant sharing has created a competitiveness among social media users to take photos of the largest and most impressive scenes possible. The desire to be popular on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, however, sometimes pushes people into destructive behavior.
The Animal Selfies Mania
Selfies are now one of the most popular photos shared online. People go out of their way to strike the perfect pose so that they look their best and attract throngs of followers. More and more social media users are doing more than capturing photos of themselves. It has now become trendy to take a selfie with interesting objects or animals and share the end product online.
While most people frequently take selfies with their cats, dogs, and other pets, some want to go beyond the expected and deliver a photo that will make their profiles stand out from the crowd. These people believe that posing with wildlife will make them look adventurous or more interesting. Online selfies of people posing with birds, turtles, and even baby dolphins have recently become commonplace.
This new trend had wildlife experts and conservationists worried especially in light of a recent baby dolphin death in Argentina. Late last month, a mob of beach goers took a baby dolphin from the shallows and passed it around for selfies. The young dolphin died from exposure and dehydration. Sadly, even after it died, people on the beach still took selfies with it.
The desire to get the perfect selfie compels some people to disregard common sense and conservation laws about staying away from wildlife. Law enforcement and conservationists worry that more animals will be at risk of harm or death as people hunt these creatures for selfie taking. Authorities warn these selfie-seekers to leave wildlife alone.
The Social Media-Risky Behavior Connection
People’s willingness to take stupid risks for the sake of social media fame goes beyond taking selfies with endangered animals. Studies have shown that people of all ages now purposely engage in risky sexual behavior because of their involvement in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. One study, conducted by UCLA, surveyed over 200 adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 24. Of the 200 respondents, more than 79 percent admitted they used social media to take part in risky sexual behaviors which usually exposed them to HIV, AIDS, and other STDs.
Close to 20 percent said that they used social media to search for sexual partners while 10 percent reported having sex with people they found online for drugs, food, or money. The study seeks an answer to the question of whether these young individuals would have put themselves in harm’s way had they not had access to social media. Likewise, scientists wondered about the direct impact that social networking had on these young adults’ decision to engage in this kind of behavior. They wonder if social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter make it easier or more tempting for people today to take risks.
Social media has arguably transformed modern life for the better. At the same time, it has encouraged people to abandon common sense or ignore the law in the pursuit of Internet popularity. Animals like baby dolphins are sacrificed in the name of the perfect selfie. Likewise, young adults and adolescents are increasingly finding it acceptable to look for sexual partners on social networking platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
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