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Violence in 4k: Instagram Reels

Instagram reels are typically used for fun entertainment but lately, graphic videos of car crashes and death have taken over the feed and students are a major audience. 

Instagram is the fourth most popular social media platform in the world, and it is rare to find a student without their own account on this platform. Instagram is not normally looked at as a violent place, unlike other apps such as Reddit. Instagram has long been seen as just a place to post your life updates. With the addition of “reels” in 2020, nobody would have guessed the content that has gone unrestricted for the past year. 

“I used to enjoy spending some time scrolling through Instagram reels, now I feel like they have turned into a dark place for violence,” says senior Andrew Rann on the matter. Even though Instagram does have an algorithm that suggests content based on one's interest, it seems as if violent content always finds a way to reach people. “I will be randomly scrolling through some lighthearted content, and then a deadly car crash pops up on the feed,” says Declan Dunning.

Not only is finding this content on one's page disturbing but the effects of continually watching these reels are even worse. Studies from the company Regional Health reported that juveniles who are exposed to this content show a decrease in empathy, increased aggressive thoughts, anger, and aggressive behavior. 

The direct result of watching these types of things is that they desensitize the person who is seeing the content. Over time, watching this violence in the media becomes enjoyable, so much so that friends often send this sort of content to each other for laughs. This desensitization causes a person to not have the normal, anxious reaction to these sorts of things that they watch and instead see it as a pastime. “I actually find these videos quite funny, and love how many there are on my feed,” says an anonymous Hackett student. 

So should this type of content be monitored more closely? Or should things remain the same? Whatever the case may be, ask yourself before you indulge in these things, is this really benefiting your mental health? Research says that it is only hurting your brain.


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