Some Important Things the Logan Paul Incident can Teach Everyone on the Internet

by Melissa K. Vassar-Belloso

Let me start out by saying this very honestly. Before this incident with the filming of the dead body in Japan I had no idea who Logan Paul was. This should tell you a few things. First it should tell you that the internet is powerful in a lot of ways because the same person who you may think is a drop in the pan and not worth worrying about one day can become a big problem for you later. That being said I think the net stepped up mostly appropriately to an apparent lack of humanity in a given situation. It shows my next point which is actually that again…the internet is powerful. We can change things and change lives using the internet and  its various platforms and that is often a double-edged sword.  For every incident showing how awful humanity can be we need to also take notice of the mass good it can do and how it can help people band together in good ideas.

As a person who has suffered many years with mental illness and suicidal thoughts around the clock I realized what I took away from it wasn’t how traumatizing seeing a man hanging was but how many people in the world are willing to be a support network for those in need and considering taking their life. The outcry of people sharing their own stories or opening up to listen to those suffering was beautiful and inspiring. It’s the sort of positivity we should be using the internet for on a daily basis and not just when some incident prompts it because people are suffering in this manner daily and America does need to wake up and take mental illness a lot more seriously then it currently does. What we all need to take away from this is that at the end of the day we’re all human and we need to begin to make a sincere world effort to be decent to other human beings.

That being said I’d like to address the specific things that stood out to me from the incident and what we can all learn from it.

Parents need to be parents again….

Incidents like this are a clear sign that younger people are absorbing what is going in the world and we need to wake up and realize that. We have a responsibility no matter what generation we’re in to take better care of our youth so they don’t grow into adults with such a blatant lack or moral grounding. I don’t just mean Logan Paul himself being a poor example of what letting the world raise your child can give you but on a larger scale we need the parents of children to step up and stop letting the world shape your kids. There is absolutely no excuse your child should stumble across inappropriate content on platforms like YouTube or harmful social media because you should be there with them and you should be guiding them. Stop letting the TV and computer raise your child and take some time to instill real values in them so they can decipher right and wrong when the time comes. Teach your children to form opinions and think critically so you can take the power away from people like Logan Paul and they can decide objectively that a situation is morally wrong. While it is awful people can create content like that freely we can’t put the complete gravity of a situation like this on those people without looking at ourselves a little and how our society lends to their success. I can personally say that myself and a lot of other outspoken adults demonstrate this is a possible thing. The best defense for children when it comes to tackling the big bad world is their parents so the best thing you can do as a parent is be there for them and educate them. They will still see things they shouldn’t but at least you can give them the tools to know how to handle it and take a higher ground on the issue. Your influence as a parent can beat the internet’s pull on your kids so shut off the electronics so you can sit down and be a parent to them.

Life is Precious…

We live in a society where we often want to label and group ourselves as human beings and elevate one type of life over another but the fact of the matter is that all life is precious and all life matters. It doesn’t matter where we live,what color we are, or what gender we are. Human life matters. We need to stop antagonizing and demeaning other human beings because at the end of the day we are all human and should be united on that front. The heart of this incident was not about what Logan Paul did but that there’s one less human life on earth and it was someone suffering and in need of help that felt helpless enough to leave the earth. It truly saddened me to see that person dead simply because they were a living and breathing human being walking the earth and reaching out to other people who ignored them. Having mental health issues myself it hit even harder because I’ve often sat up well into the night teetering on whether I want to wake up the next morning. It was almost like losing a comrade in arms which I think a lot of people might identify with. I feel the deepest condolences for that man’s family and country. They lost a son,friend,brother, or father. They lost a freaking human being! We all did. That should upset people and for the most part it did but for that bit of people who were so desensitized they just saw a mannequin in a tree and no reason to not encourage the content there’s not much you can really say. A lot of them were impressionable children who may not have been aware what was happening or what the true gravity of the situation was but not all of them can hide behind that shield which as I’ve noted above isn’t a valid excuse. Human ignorance is rampant and shows it’s worst side when we can overlook the loss of a human life. The next time you want to take up a great cause try to keep in mind that all human life is precious and whether the victim is in your backyard or on the other side of the world you need to value that human life and respect it when it is lost far too unfairly.

We need to take a real look at how we approach mental health….

A staggering number of people suffer with mental illness. A staggering number of people take their lives every single day. People need to acknowledge that mental health is a real and fatal epidemic and help the many people in need because of it. Suicide is not a split second decision. it is a poison that lingers in people and builds over time. You wake up in the morning and lay down at night wishing for death and often wonder if life will ever look better to you. The struggles those suffering with suicidal thoughts go through are very real and very painful. Many of them go through with it because they don’t think the world around them cares and the best deterrent to suicide is to show that people do care. If you genuinely suspect people are having problems then handle it like an adult with common sense and sensitivity. Reach out to them and listen to them. Take them seriously. For that one man we saw in the video there are a thousand or more other bodies dangling from some structure all around the world. It is a grisly truth but if we learn to love and respect other human beings around us it’s a truth that can change. Anytime we joke, lighten the situation, or lash out at those with mental health problems we are hanging another rope. Don’t put the knot in another rope. Be good to other human beings and help those who need to know that somebody cares.

Now out of the huge number of things this incident made me realize the biggest thing is this.

People have a right to their opinions…

This point might surprise you but I think at the end of the day we need to realize everyone has a right to their personal opinion. It’s one of the freedoms we fight for so often and if we want it for ourselves we need to respect that other people do have opinions. What I mean by this is that we need to see beyond ourselves and listen to other people when things like this span out into tiny wars on social media. Those people are entitled to an opinion as much as we are. When we debate we need to be aware of not just our thoughts but also others. Thinking about a conflict this way means we force ourselves to see another side to an argument and that can make a huge difference. Beyond whether a party is right or wrong we need to be open-minded and objective in times of animosity and crisis. No matter how good or right our thoughts are we need to give every person the basic respect of expressing their opinion as well and give it honest consideration. While I thought like many the apology issued was insincere it also dawned on me that he may have been as honest as he could in it. We can’t penalize a person for being ignorant and unfortunately we live in a world where a lot of under-educated  and misinformed people have access to powerful platforms. It doesn’t make the apology suddenly sincere or reverse the situation as a whole but at the same time how much is our society contributing to shaping people who grow up into Logan Paul. We’ve entered an era where we no longer truly talk to each other and take care of ourselves first.At the end of the day we need to realize what kind of future generations this will produce. Don’t pounce on a person or lambaste them as your first instinct. We need to talk and we need to better educate people about the things wrong in our world today. Most importantly we need to start having real discussions. Use your words and quit trying to settle debates with memes and emojis. The world needs a serious case of growing up so we can actually communicate with each other.The next time you want to enter into a debate or even put your opinion out there understand the stakes,the viewpoints, and the factors involved. The best way to handle these situations is with a carefully formed written response where we address others with the same respect we want back.

In conclusion I just want to say one last point. Emotions are powerful so as angry or disgusted as a situation may make you try to take the time to step back  before firing a response off and make sure you know the facts before getting ready to go on the attack. It’s easy to get bits and pieces of something through social media but get the whole story before you make it a trending hash tag. Pick your battles carefully because not all of them are worth waging war over.

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