Trends, Social Media, and the Psychology Behind It


Naeelah Desanges, Entertainment Editor

It is clear that social media has become more immersed in our daily lives, whether it’s staying up to date with the latest crazes or a quick birthday shout out to a friend. Hundreds of trends have wiggled their way into pop culture, and though they can be harmless and fun, it would be naïve not to acknowledge that dangerous side.

One of these trends or challenges that most of us are familiar with is the Devious Lick Challenge. Gaining popularity on TikTok, this challenge calls participants to steal miscellaneous items such as soap dispensers, street signs, and even someone’s shoe when they least expect it. While the trend seems fun and spontaneous, it has detrimental effects that the participant may not think of, not to mention that stealing from schools especially is disheartening, seeing that it directly affects your peers, teachers, and school staff. Burglary and theft charges are possible consequences of this particular challenge that can potentially follow you for several years.

If we look at the big picture, we can ask ourselves a meaningful question: “Why do some feel the need to participate in social media trends that have clear adverse effects on their community?” Is it for potential social media fame or school popularity? We asked a student here at North Providence High this exact question, and here’s their opinion:

“I think that it’s deeper than just wanting to do the challenge. Like it has to do with staying relevant.” As a follow-up question, I asked, “How far do you think a student would go following a trend?” They said, “I can’t speak for everyone but for me; as soon as a trend asks to hurt or harm people physically, that’s where I’d stop.” In terms of the psychology behind it, Psychologist Rob Henderson for Psychology Today explains that group polarization is a concept that explains that when we surround ourselves with a group of like-minded people, our actions are greatly influenced by these people. This fact explains why students are much more likely to participate in trends if their friends would too. 

As a part of the student body of North Providence High School, we must call out to each other bad ideas and discourage them before our actions escalate to places with a level of repercussions that were not intended. So, before participating in any trend, ask yourself if you’re are ready to live with the long-term consequences that may follow the theoretical, short-lived internet fame.