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Commentary: YouTube stars make bad role models and it’s all our fault

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14.01.2018

SINGAPORE: For all the fears that parents have about their children spending too much time on the internet on their smartphones, the news this week has highlighted one threat that can be dangerous but is often ignored.

In the early days of web anonymity and the rise of chatrooms, the danger to look out for was your teenager meeting up with a stranger who turned out to be a sexual predator.

More recently, parents worry their kids are giving out too much personal information online at a time when scammers and hackers can take advantage of them to steal their hard-earned pocket money.

But news this week spotlighting on YouTube star Logan Paul suggests the threat is not an obviously sinister figure lurking in the shadows and waiting to strike.

Indeed, it might be more insidious, taking the form of a bright-eyed, good-looking 22-year old adolescent who has amassed an enormous following and equally huge fortune over YouTube for his thoughtless antics.

IN THE NEWS FOR THE WRONG REASONS

With 15 million followers on YouTube, Logan Paul was in the news for the wrong reasons this week.

Paul had posted a video he made showing an actual dead body hanging from a tree during his trip to Japan. The video was seen by six million viewers before it was deleted.

While he quickly apologised, it seems the problem with his actions had not really sunk in when he tried to explain his position.

“One may understand it’s easy to get caught up in the moment without fully weighing the possible ramifications”, Paul said in his apology. “I do this s*** every day. I’ve made a 15-minute TV show EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460 days.”

Bad enough as it is, he really should have stopped right there but added in his reply: “I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the Internet … I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention.”

Dear Internet, pic.twitter.com/42OCDBhiWg

One might be inclined to accept he had well-intended motivations for filming in a forest........

© Channel NewsAsia