According to Exploding Topics, Americans spend an average of six and a half hours a day online. That’s about a third of the time a person is awake. Of that time, about two and a half hours are spent on social media.
With that amount of time spent in cyberspace, there’s bound to be some confusion as to what’s real and what’s virtual reality. That can be dangerous, even deadly. In a disturbing example of this danger, yet another TikTok challenge is proving to be fatal. One woman filmed her husband’s death as he took up the challenge.
Captain Jim Dennis of Alabama’s Childersburg Rescue Squad explained the tragic trend to KGAN. “[In the] Last six months we have had four drownings that were easily avoidable.
“They were doing a TikTok challenge. It’s where you get in a boat going at a high rate of speed, you jump off the side of the boat, don’t dive, you’re jumping off feet first and you just kinda lean into the water.”
It shouldn’t surprise you that all four of the victims were men. It might surprise you that the victims weren’t all drunken teenagers full of hormones showing off social media.
The first incident was in February when a man died while jumping into the Coosa River. His wife and their children watched from inside the boat, according to the New York Post.
“Unfortunately, she recorded his death,” Dennis said.
In another incident, the victim was a middle-aged man, according to KGAN. Sadly, adolescent behavior isn’t just for adolescents anymore.
In the race to post video clips on TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, more and more people are taking big risks to build up a manufactured image of their life that is not a reflection true reflection of reality. They post videos of smiling families enjoying exotic vacations and the like.
For people living in a world where, according to Exploding Topics, the average person spends about two and a half hours on social media every day, checks their mobile devices 159 times a day, and users will spend 4 trillion hours on social media this year, it might seem like cyberspace is reality.
Why deal with the reality of a broken world when you can spend a good portion of your day inside a cyber utopia?
In cyber world, it’s only natural that people want to put on their best face for public consumption. It’s like getting dressed up for family pictures at Christmas. People don’t want you to see their kids fighting, the burnt turkey in the oven, or old grandpa, after partaking a bit too much of the spiked eggnog, asleep and drooling in his chair.
In other words, social media is a web of lies.
According to Sophos, in 2106 over 75 percent of people lied on social media. “In a survey of 2000 Brits, more than 75% admitted to lying about themselves on social profiles. Only 18% said that their Twitter and Facebook profiles accurately represent them. Some 31% said that their Facebook profiles are ‘pretty much my life but without the boring bits.’ And 14% said that Facebook makes them look much more socially active than they are.”
The survey also found that men are more prone than women when it comes to accentuating reality. “Nearly half — 43% — of men polled admitted to fabricating facts.”
For the most part, it seems petty — arrested adolescents playing out in cyberspace. But when lies start spilling over and colliding with the truth. It can be deadly.
Captain Dennis said boat jumping is “a very big concern because we have seen this pattern emerge over the last two years and it’s sporadic. But it’s something that needs to go away and stay away.”
He went on to say, “I think people if they’re being filmed on camera, I think they’re more likely to do something stupid because they want to show off in front of their friends for social media,” according to the Post.
“Do not do it,” Dennis said, “It’s not worth your life.”