After Blue Whale challenge, teens take Snapchat Slap-Bet challenge: where are we going wrong?

What makes teens take path of destruction and violence in the name of fun these days?

As a mother of two kids, I sometimes worry what age we are living in. While there is the constant fear of predators disguised as well-wishers turned abusers residing in the known quarters of the society, the social media is the bigger monster that is ruining children to a great extent by playing on their vulnerabilities, killing their innocence and judiciousness. What else can explain why these kids fall for these internet challenges and upload these destructive and devastating videos on the net?

Yesterday, yet another video of some school children involved in a slap-bet challenge eager to post their pseudo heroics on Snapchat went viral. A Snapchat video stays live only for 24 hours and gets deleted, but this particular video emerged as a WhatsApp forward and became viral because people started sharing it. It shows a school boy being slapped by one of his classmates while two guys stand as cheering spectators and the other recording the whole incident which happened at Pathways School, Noida. The fallout of this whole incident is that the guy who receives a tight-slap from the classmate ends up suffering 25 percent hearing loss. First, when the post went viral, everybody thought it to be a case of bullying. But the school authorities after investigating the matter revealed that both the parties were game for this challenge, and it happened with the consent of the victim.

Now, what in the earth would make these 15 or 16-year-olds take such challenges. We are living in the age of challenges which leads to no mental stimulation but destructive thoughts and actions. Recently, we have been witnessing the perils of the blue whale challenge and how kids are losing their lives trying to complete the tasks.

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But coming back to the recent incident, we realise that the kids are keener on showing their heroics through falsely perceived valour. There are very fewer teens and young adults who are rational in their actions and witty enough to challenge the existence of such destructive games and bets. The school suspended the child who was slapped for a month and the others for a fortnight claiming to be swift in taking action. But we ask, is that enough to correct the kids? Where as a society are we going wrong? There are few questions that we need to ask ourselves before we start to forward this video that has gone viral:

  • Why are our teens expressing themselves in such destructive manner and looking for validations through bets and challenges?
  • Why are they not able to resist performing violent acts to showcase their perceived sense of bravery?
  • Why are they desperate to prove themselves to the world through the social media?
  • Why do they have to record every action and reaction and seek attention from their social media audience?
  • Why are we failing to build individuals who seek contentment and happiness in their little ways rather than seek attention from strangers to validate their existence?

So, before we start to punish or try to teach the teens a lesson, we need to stop and think, where as parents, society and institution we are going wrong that leads teens to take destructive methods to prove themselves. Watch the full video below:

Video source: Suno Bharat

Image source: Suno Bharat

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