Personally, when I think of the biggest influences in my life, I think of my parents. I think of my parents who were always around to teach me manners, priorities, and the distinction between what is right and what is wrong. But, the further I dig into what has influenced me in how I act and how I perceive the world, it also comes down to the movies and television shows I watched as a child, and the books I read. Just as much as I rely on my parents' teachings of how to tie my shoes and say "please," I can also quote Scooby Doo, Drake and Josh, and Spongebob with the best of them.
I remember when I was probably nine or ten years old, watching Cartoon Network while working on a bowl of Cheerios, and my mom turning it off because one of the animated characters said "dork." I remember being appalled and upset because, surely, it was not the worst word created.
In hindsight and looking at some of the current influences in the world, I understand now what my mom was thinking - the cartoons, while I didn't know it at the time, were a large influence on me. Which begs the question - are the influences on people today good or bad?
Naturally, there is no objective good or bad, and an influence is rarely intrinsically good or bad. However, I will be calling attention to a pair of YouTubers who are bad influences, while their large followings might beg to differ.
For those who do not keep up with Logan Paul, the Viner-turned-YouTuber has made waves in headlines over the past week for his less than favorable actions.
Logan Paul, during his trip to Japan, posted a video showcasing a dead body in the Aokigahara Forest, also called the Suicide Forest for its high rate of suicide. The video, titled "We Found a Dead Body in the Japanese Suicide Forest," included footage of a suicide victim and an image in the thumbnail Paul edited for upload.
During the video, Paul and his friends film the body and laugh at one instance while discussing it. Instead of being respectful and turning off the camera, Paul immortalizes a stranger's death on his camera, and then on the internet.
Since its upload, the video was removed and replaced by an apology video, in which Paul states that he did not intend to create such an outrage for the content, and he goes on to apologize to his fans, anyone who saw the video, the victim, and the victim's family.
Along with the apology video, a tweet contained an apology note. The note, in my opinion, is not an apology, but is a poor attempt to cool the fire he started. More so in the note than the video, it is not about the victim, but about himself. As the note reads, "I've never faced criticism like this before, because I've never made a mistake like this before," and "I do this sh*t every day... it's easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications."
However, for someone like Logan Paul, who has a 15 million subscriber count on a YouTube channel which panders mainly towards teenagers and pre-teens, he should be thinking about every single detail he puts out on the internet. His net of influence is massive, and reaches so many people, most of whom are extremely young and susceptible to his actions.
As much as he may say that it was an attempt to raise awareness of mental illness and that he was not thinking correctly in the moment, Paul had his time to review the footage, edit it together, and choose a thumbnail. I question if he ever thought beyond the number of views he expected to gain from it, and the publicity he hoped to come as someone taking stance against such a serious issue.
Dare I say that, even if it was not the outstanding publicity Paul most likely wanted, the news coverage probably increased the traffic to his social media in a way that he still does not deserve for his insincerity, poor judgement, and lack of maturity.
To this, I conclude that not all influences are good influences, and that there is at least one intrinsically bad influence towards the children and teens who freely roam the internet every single day. Logan Paul needs to understand his impact beyond his own sponsorships and bank accounts before he deserves to reclaim his power as a top internet influencer.