Social Media Apps have taken a battering in recent times no doubt. A generation of 40 somethings has been lobbying to supervise social media connectedness amongst children and teenagers. From virally popular gaming apps such as Fortnite, to Instagram, Snap Chat and Facebook, the world is one large intricate web of matrix like virtual realities that threaten to take over our existence! The seemingly aggressive social media invasion has led us to believe that all things connected with the internet, and social media apps in specific, are BAD, evil and should be ‘put down’. Such was the prevalent emotion when a recent (fatal) incident occurred and the infamously popular social media app amongst teenagers – TIK TOK came into the (unwelcome) spotlight.
With social media becoming popular day by day, teenagers tend to spend a large part of their day using social media apps. These apps are an instant gateway to online fame and the overnight post likes, video views and shares can translate into big bucks through sponsorships and online adverts.
The is what was reported:
Recently, an incident led to the death of a 19 year old boy Salman Zakir in Delhi.
On a night out, Salman Zakir and his two friends Sohail and Amir went to India gate around 9:45pm. On their way back, they were shooting a Tik Tok video with a real gun. They were at the Ranjit Singh Flyover. Salman was driving a white car, Sohail was sitting in the passenger seat and Amir was sitting at the back.
Sohail held the gun in his hand and while filming for the video, he accidentally shot Salman on his left cheek and the bullet passed through his right ear. The boys were not aware of the fact that the gun was already cocked and ready to fire.
Sohail and Amir panicked and instead of taking Salman directly to the hospital, they moved the injured body on the passenger seat, they went to change their clothes and wanted to hide the gun. Though the gun was used to serve the purpose of a prop, it was not licensed. Sohail had received the gun from his friend. “During interrogation, Sohail revealed that a friend wanted to sell him the pistol for Rs 5 lakh, however he couldn’t afford it. The same friend asked him to keep it, (the pistol was not licensed), for a day: DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma reported this version to The Indian Express
The two friends eventually took Salman to Lok Nayak Hospital and he was instantly declared dead. Salman’s body was kept until Monday for post-mortem.
Salman, Sohail and Aamir lived in the same neighbourhood and their relationship was practically like brothers. Salman was an undergraduate student who was living with his parents. Salman also used to assist his father at work.
Since then, a number of sites have called for a Tik Tok ban and once again, it is the internet and social media that is to blame for all the morbid and ‘dark’ events that take place in our lives.
In an age where self-driving cars and programmed robots threaten to take over the planet, can we really lay the blame for everything that goes wrong on a bundle of social media apps? As parents, and a community, are we not supposed to KNOW where our children are, who they meet, and what they do in their spare time? Agreed, we cannot have a close-circuit camera to monitor their every move, (and neither should we), but on the other hand, video-making in itself is not an unhealthy activity for a teenager. We have to recognize that we live in a digital age where we are ALL connected to each other from behind our screens. The race for social media popularity is another topic, and parenting in a planet invaded by the world wide web is a challenge indeed! But that cannot divert from the question that how and why would a group of teenagers roam around town with an unlicensed gun?
Or why an 8 year old is abducted on the streets because he had befriended a predator on an online gaming site?
We as communities, and as families need to know where our children are, inside and outside our homes. No online gaming app or social media site can bear the blame if we as adults do not step in to claim what is our responsibility. The question is: are we up for the challenge?
This article is the collaboration effort of several members of Team FUCHSIA.