In a time when media coverage on heated topics such as gun violence, domestic abuse, and sexual assault are at an all-time high, it’s critical to recognize the potential side effects that too much exposure of this content can have on impressionable age groups. Social contagion, also known in this context as a media contagion, is a specific kind of social influence largely impactingindividuals within the age group of 15-19 years of age.
Teens are more digitally connected than ever. When influenced by social contagion, they are more likely to adapt, or even imitate the behaviors found within the media channels surrounding them. The potential for harm sourced by a social contagion could also increase significantly with such easy access to observe dangerous behaviors on the social media sources teens prefer.
For example, Drake, a popular musician, released a new album this July. The music video of his hit song “In my Feelings” rapidly went viral. Not only did fans love his song, but they began filming themselves imitating dance moves from the video then posting them online. In turn, those recordings became the next social media trend to catch on as a challenge.