Public displays of affliction


Some time ago, Gawker reported on a story of a teen that threw boiling water on a girl’s face. Allegedly, the reason was over the fact that the girl unfriended him on facebook. Instead of wondering or perhaps even just asking about it and moving on, Yudishthir Yadav locked the victim and her mother in a room, boiled a pot of water in the kitchen, and then proceeded to handle the situation in a rational manner.

But what is it that defined such a behaviour?

On the surface of the article, it looks as though Facebook is to blame. (That being facebook is becoming a major communication amongst teens of india, and the apparent suicide of a girl after her parents banned her from the website.)

The whole thing kind of paints a picture in which you can preach all the cons of why social media is the worst thing ever.

I had a response on twitter over the article: “ I dunno, you could argue that someone THAT violent would have hurt someone over a different issue. This story reminds me of a tragedy where a teen hurt his parents when they took his videogames away. Were the games to blame?”

True, the girl’s reason for unfriending the guy is because he was getting more mean and abusive over time, so facebook isn’t directly to blame. But much like the video games that someone got really upset about, it was a tiny factor.

There was a study that came out that concluded Facebook makes you depressed. But this article on the Verge is a better read because there’s so much more to it than that. It’s the amount of time we spend on these things which could affect our behavior in a negative way.

With the dispute of the kid who stabbed his parents over the videogames? I would argue it’s because he has such an emotional attachment towards them, that he’s willing to do whatever to get it back. It’s sad that the outcome was a violent one, but emotional responses/behavior patterns get skewed by whatever people spend the most time with.

Here’s a scenario:

Let’s say there is a favourite website that someone goes to. They start to fall in love with it, the more time they spend with it. Over time they know so much about the people that run the site that they get comfortable and make themselves at home. They want to be like them, or be them. I’m not saying it takes over them completely, but in some form that becomes a reality that gives them the emotional response that they are so desperately looking for.

There are some people that would eventually do or say the wrong thing, thinking they could just get away with it because of the relationship that they have with the site. Often times the result gets them banned. There is the select few out there that have spent so much time on a website, that the result is them losing themselves. In their eyes it’s not just one website out of hundreds and they just suck it up and move on. That website has become their girlfriend. A girlfriend that has broken up with them, and they haven’t experienced any real emotion for so long that they just lose themselves, spouting threats in an attempt to get the love of their life back.

It’s drastic, but the scenario comes up more often than you think.

So when you look back to article at the top and ask yourself if Facebook is really that bad, you have to wonder why. People in general seem to develop a lack of self control which could really eat away at them. In a way Facebook could be to blame because their entire infrastructure is built on the users constantly coming back to it. Facebook is a symbiotic website that relies on people being social on their service, it needs basic human interaction to survive.

When you spend a chunk of your social life attached to a screen, it does come at a little bit of a cost to some people, and then there are those that experience it worse than others. Sometimes unfriending can mean the world to a person. That’s something to keep in mind for yourself, and as a parent. There’s a million things that a person can do on a daily basis, and you should never let the few things you do on a computer screen define who you are.


This is a video that apparently came out on the same day I wrote the article. While we talk about completely different things, the subject matters are in the same ballpark so I wanted to share. Thanks to Ossi for sending me the link:


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