Since the invention of the Internet, the flow of information in our lives has become several times more dynamic. Using various social media including Facebook, we are able to complete instant communication, at the same time we are able to inform the netizens about what is happening where. When we open the Facebook page, we can see all kinds of true and false information and news. From the earthquake in China to the news of the housewife’s kitchen, nothing is left out on this platform. And when we find something a little different, we share it without thinking. The issue is having more negative effects on the society than it is bringing benefits. It is increasing instability, rumors and the practice of distorted mentality in the society.
On February 2, at around 9.15 pm, film actor Riaz’s father-in-law Abu Mohsin Khan came on Facebook Live and shot himself in the head. In a matter of moments, the video live has been shared and spread by thousands of people, which is still being watched by people of different ages, starting from small children. While this may seem normal and fair at first glance, such video footage could pose a serious health risk to some people. If simply said, our brain wants to receive and adapt what our eyes see. Our thoughts and decisions are determined by the way the brain holds these things. Therefore, the more we spread horrific videos of suicide, murder, etc. around us, the more people will watch these videos and these abominable things will gradually become established in their subconscious minds as normal things. This will further increase the tendency to murder and suicide. In psychology this effect is called “Werther Effect”.
A report published in March 2021 by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health states that suicide videos on social media create suicidal tendencies in mentally vulnerable people and push some medical condition patients directly to suicide. Moreover, the normal mental structure of infants and children is greatly disrupted. The effects were so devastating that the suicide scenes from the drama series “Thirteen Reasons Why” aired on Netflix were eventually cut off. In addition to suicides, videos that contain brutal murders, mutilated bodies, gruesome looks, etc. are called NSFL (Not Safe For Life) videos. As a result of watching these videos, in some serious patients, it is not possible to get a complete cure even after treatment.
Many countries around the world now have specific policies regarding the promotion of live video and still images of suicides, murders, atrocities, etc. In our country, print media and electronic media follow the relevant policies, but the general public on social media is out of these policies. Considering the national interest, it is necessary to make a policy in this regard very soon and make arrangements to implement it in practice. Otherwise, the poison that we are spreading on social media, the nation may suffer from this poison for a long time.
Student, Jagannath University