Dear Adult Idiots Of The Internet, This Danger For Attention Craze Must Stop

At the very least, we need to stop "liking" the parents who do it

None of us are going to be famous movie stars. 

I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you. But unless Brad Pitt happens to be reading this (are you there, Brad?), the chances of us making it to the big screen are pretty slim. We’re not going to be famous rock stars either. It’s unlikely one of us is the next Baryshnikov, Oprah Winfrey, or Andy Warhol. Bummer, huh? Becoming famous sure is hard. Or at least it was ten years ago. Now, thanks to a magical combo of social media and stupidity, becoming famous is easier than ever!

I love social media. I do. As an introverted mom of two, most of my social life plays out through social media. I love that I can hang out with my friends without ever having to actually see or speak to them. I love that I can interact with actors and authors I admire. I even accidentally became Facebook friends with my childhood crush, Wesley from Mr. Belvedere. Thank you, social media, nine-year-old me is ecstatic. But every time I start to gush about how wonderful social media is, someone becomes 'internet famous' for something stupid.

How is the ‘Cash Me Ousside' girl making more money than teachers do? Why does a giraffe have more followers than most scientists? Seriously. Many of us spent more time discussing the state of a giraffe’s hoo-hah than we did global warming in April. Why can’t I stop laughing at Grumpy Cat? The internet is a weird, weird place.

Most of these internet celebrities, while probably less worthy of fame than say, JK Rowling or Viola Davis, are silly but harmless. But what happens when people take it to the next level, by simply trying to become known?

Recently, a man in Algeria was sentenced to two years in prison for posting a picture of himself dangling a baby by his t-shirt out of a 15th floor apartment window. He captioned the photo “1,000 likes or I drop him.” Whether the caption was a joke or not, the danger to the baby was real, and the motive was clear. This man risked a baby’s life for attention on social media. This seems like an extreme case, but the 'Danger For Attention' craze only seems to be growing.

Image courtesy of BBC via Facebook

Last week, a mom in my community was allegedly run off the road by a speeding school bus whose driver was on her phone. This mom did the responsible thing, by taking down the bus number, intersection, and time, and reporting it to the school and the bus company.

NOT.

Of course, she didn’t (did you even read the title of my article?). She sped after the bus, chased it to the school, got out and confronted the driver while filming the whole thing, and then posted it to Facebook and tagged a bunch of media outlets. Her claims that her son was the one filming while she was driving are either false, or her son was sitting in her lap, judging by the angle of the video, complete with a close-up of her speedometer. While ranting about the safety of kids in the neighbourhood, she was speeding in a hot pursuit while on her cell phone. This came as no shock to those of us in our community, however, as only a few months earlier this mom had taken to the media to falsely claim a local school was trying to convert students to Islam. Actual concern or seeking opportunities to become internet famous? I have a pretty strong suspicion.

How far will we go for likes? More and more we hear stories of people dying while trying to get the perfect selfie by hanging off a cliff, or climbing a building, or posing on train tracks. When we warned our kids about the dangers of social media, we were thinking of predators and ruining future job prospects. Climbing bridges, dangling babies, and chasing school buses didn’t really come to mind, but I guess we need to add that to the list.

So here is my plea. Don’t be idiots. Don’t reward idiots by liking their idiocy. Can we please just get back to sharing funny cat videos and creative memes, and leave the fame to people who genuinely deserve it?

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