By Tyler Mercer–
On a college campus of any size, one could find many people who are familiar with the site 4Chan.org or sites very much like it. These sites provide a medium where users can post and comment on topics, photos or events completely anonymously. This ability allows users to speak and perform actions with little to no consequences.
Allegedly, Justin Bieber recently was found to be involved in less than satisfactory behavior with marijuana. As quoted by the NY Daily News, an anonymous user on 4Chan.org said:
“Lets start a cut yourself for bieber campaign. Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because bieber was smoking weed. See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves.”
While these comments have been removed from the site, it didn’t stop the topic #Cut4Bieber from trending on Twitter. Some may remember #Bald4Bieber trending last October where another 4Chan.org user suggested that Justin Bieber had cancer and that fans should support him by cutting their hair off as well.
The damage done by shaving your head can be pretty lasting. It seems so at the time, anyway. The idea that someone would joke about self-harm, or indirectly encourage someone to do it, is pretty disturbing. Justin Bieber fans have frequently been characterized as pre-teen girls. That age is very susceptible to outside influences.
As college students, we understand the pressure to keep up. We always need to know what’s trending. We look to the internet and social media to tell us what everyone is into right now. Not only as college students, but as humans, we have an underlying desire to fit in. But those who are mature enough know where to draw the line.
The young girls following Bieber, both on Twitter and throughout his day-to-day, will do anything to get his attention. They want him to notice them in the same way that they’ve noticed him. If they believe that jumping in on a trending topic on Twitter will help Justin notice them and they will become a part of something viral, they might just do it.
Not only were these anonymous users putting young people in danger of potential self-harm, but they were being especially insensitive to those individuals who have struggled with self-harm in the past. We can never know how someone else views the world and themselves without truly living their life. Those who struggle with self-harm are fighting a daily battle. This is not something to make light of or joke about.
Those involved in this struggle deserve compassion, not ignorance. That ignorance is fully embodied in the anonymous 4Chan.org users who started this disappointing trend. Self-harm and the ideas that surround it are not a trend. It isn’t hip. It is truly something more people should care about and make themselves aware.
Photo courtesy TMZ