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The rude, the sad and the funny

A model grows tired of entitled people, a report claims social media makes British kids unhappy and netizens craft Yuletide poems

SOCIAL MEDIA FUELS SELF-HARM?

It seems children and social media can sometimes be a bad mix.

It can cause them to be "deeply unhappy", new figures from Britain have shown.

According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), 18,778 children aged between 11 and 18 were admitted to hospital for self-harm in the 2015 to 2016 period.

This was a 14 per cent rise from the preceding 2013 to 2014 period.

Mr Peter Wanless, chief executive of NSPCC, told The Independent that the helpline for children counsels up to 50 children a day.

PewDiePie deleted his secondary account after reaching 50 million subscribers, in protest against YouTube. Supermodel Hadid - who has about 34 million fans in total - is leaving social media for a month, after a stranger manhandled her.
Supermodel Hadid – who has about 34 million fans in total – is leaving social media for a month, after a stranger manhandled her. PHOTO: GIGI HADID

PewDiePie deleted his secondary account after reaching 50 million subscribers, in protest against YouTube. Supermodel Hadid - who has about 34 million fans in total - is leaving social media for a month, after a stranger manhandled her.
PewDiePie deleted his secondary account after reaching 50 million subscribers, in protest against YouTube. PHOTO: FELIX ARVID ULF KJELLBERG

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"We know this unhappiness is partly due to the constant pressure they feel, particularly from social media, to have the perfect life or attain a certain image which is often unrealistic," he said.

Teenagers in Britain aged between 13 and 17 were the most likely to end up in hospital for issues such as cutting or burning themselves, and overdosing on pills.

Mr Wanless said: "The children tell us that the need to keep up with friends and the 24/7 nature of technology means they feel they can never escape or switch off, adding to the misery that many feel on a daily basis."

The number of such cases seems to be rising the world over.

A report released earlier this year showed that cyber-bullying was linked to self-harm among the young in Singapore.

Psychologist Daniel Koh attributed the escalating issue to hostility faced online.

"Negative comments on social media have the power to reinforce whatever negative thoughts a person might have. They may not be able to deal with the situation in a positive manner and hence are responding to the distress by self-harming," he said.

All this means parents and educators should do more to counsel young people on social-media use.

MODEL'S PATIENCE WEARS THIN

Supermodel Gigi Hadid is taking a brief hiatus off social media in an effort to "detox".

Hadid - who has about 34 million fans on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter combined - said she was not deleting her accounts, but simply removing the apps from her phone for a month.

Her actions come after an incident in September where a stranger approached the supermodel after a runway show and manhandled her by grabbing her and picking her up.

"At the end of the day, I'm choosing what I'm showing you," said the 21-year-old at a panel discussion hosted by sports brand Reebok.

"A lot of the world feels so entitled to other people's lives, which is so crazy. I'm going to take a break… if you want to be supportive and still follow me, that's great.

"But if you are going to be upset that I need to be human for a month, (then) maybe I don't want your follow anyway."

XMAS TRAIN DRIVES FUN RHYMES

Creative commuters have taken to Facebook to express their thoughts on the recently unveiled Christmas train on the North-East Line.

A Straits Times post on the fancy carriage was well-received by users, garnering more than 14,000 likes, comments and shares.

The post reads: "In the train, Snow is glittering, A beautiful sight, On NEL tonight, Riding in a winter wonderland. str.sg/4AcE"

Within minutes, netizens started coming up with their own poems, many of them poking fun at the train line's recent breakdown woes.

User Angie Lim said: In the train, Reading this post, The train jerked twice, I only have one wish. To reach home soon, Regardless of winter or whatever."

Another user, who goes by the name Amirul Brad Amir, said: "Last christmas i gave you my trust, And the very next day, your train got delay, This christmas u put some deco, But im very sure the train still be slow."

RICH GUY'S PLEA NETS THOUSANDS

Crowdsourcing for funds online has led to many heartwarming tales showcasing humanity's generosity.

But an incident last week demonstrated the pitfalls of falling prey to false promises.

A man in China managed to raise more than $540,000 through popular messaging app WeChat for his sick child within days.

Luo Er, a writer, wrote a moving post about his five-year-old daughter's fight with leukaemia.

"If you are not a good girl and come back home, even if you become an angel, even if you run to heaven, if we meet up in heaven one day, I wouldn't talk to you," he said in a post, reported the BBC.

Luo said he was overwhelmed by the support he had received.

But suspicious WeChat users eventually discovered that Luo was not as poor as he made himself out to be.

In fact, he owns three properties and two cars. Not only that, his daughter was also covered by medical insurance and he has only paid less than $10,000 so far for her treatment.

Facing a backlash, Luo said he would be setting up a fund to help raise awareness and help foot the medical costs of children afflicted with leukaemia.

But Tencent, the owners of WeChat, took it a step further and said that after a discussion with Luo, all the money would be returned .

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 11, 2016, with the headline 'The rude, the sad and the funny'. Print Edition | Subscribe