‘Reel Making Is Becoming An Epidemic; Govt & Parents Can Stop It’

Arshad Nagrami, a social activist from Lucknow, feels short videos makers looking for instant fame on social media are becoming a nuisance in public spaces. His views:

Making ‘reels’ or short videos and uploading them on web platforms is a trend that has taken social media by storm. The easy access to smartphones with high-tech camera features helps boost this trend where people are recording their dance moves, road stunts or random events to grab attention. In this race for getting more ‘likes’ or views, it has now taken the form of an epidemic, no less.

Take, for example, the calm and picturesque waterfront of River Gomti in Lucknow. Such a beautiful road for a walk and enjoying street food from the stalls there has been completely ruined by reel makers performing stunts, and causing nuisance to other road-users. The presence of police does deter them but one cannot expect cops to be present at all such stretches and all the time in the city?

Most of these reel-makers have a single point agenda: to grab more views and ‘likes’, social etiquette and road laws be damned. It is a common site now that if there is an accident on the road or a fight takes place between road users, passersby take out their camera and start making videos. There is rarely an attempt to help the accident victim or broker peace between fighting faction. Where are we heading?

Social sites are also adding to the menace by providing financial rewards for crossing a number barrier of ‘likes’. So, there is an added financial bonus besides getting instant fame. This has led to a no-holds-barred frenzy to make short videos that can draw more viewers. The worst part of this trend is that even mainstream media at times picks up such footage and plays it on their national broadcast, further fuelling the frenzy.

To control this contagious disease, I have two suggestions: One, the state authorities should put a strict check to filter the content and penalize social media platforms for unfair practices of offering ‘financial rewards’ to such content. And, the second approach should be from the parental or familial guidance to the youth, by keeping a watch on their activities and discouraging them against it. This dual approach is what I believe can curb this social malaise.

ALSO READ: ‘Reel-Makers Compromise With Safety, Scruples’

Financial rewards should only be restricted to contents which promote better health, education, social cause, empathy, etc. This will not only discourage teens and people from wasting time on unwanted activities but will also limit the time they spend on social media for the sake of uploading foolish and dangerous activities.

The elder members of a family should spend quality time together, whereby they can put away their phones for some time too. Being glued to the phone is part of this disease which has quietly made its way into our houses and families.

These days, you hardly find children or teens in parks or fields engaged in physical activities! If, at all, there are people in parks, but most of them are busy scanning their mobile phones! This behavior needs a revolutionary change that is impossible without our own will and determination.

As told to Rajat Rai

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