TikTok has shown remarkable growth over the past year. It is the third most downloaded app at 1.5 billion downloads, making it one of the most quickly growing social media platforms in the entire world.
Gen Z has utilized the platform to create an entirely new subculture, marking TikTok as the phenomenon to watch this year for trends.
While usage of the app has definitely spiked with the homebound nature of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is a clear instance in which the platform is not being used for good. TikTok personality known as Larz, or GayShawnMendez on social media, posted a video of himself licking a toilet bowl for a “challenge”.
He is 21 years old and from Beverly Hills, and he posted this video to his account last week as a mockery of increased calls for sanitation practices.
The video was following in the footsteps of 22 year old Ava Louise’s, who had posted a video of herself licking a toilet seat on a plane.
This act made a blatant mockery of increased sanitation protocol in light of the virus. Larz appeared not only out of touch, but blatantly selfish and ignorant.
This past Sunday, Larz posted a video of himself in a hospital bed, where he tweeted: “I tested positive for Coronavirus”.
The tweet has since been deleted, and his account has been suspended, but Larz was quickly heavily criticized for his tone deaf nature given the severity of the pandemic and its real and major threat to lives.
It also highlighted conversation surrounding the younger generation’s aversion to understanding that this virus has the ability to affect anyone and everyone, and that we all need to be practicing proper hygiene and social distancing.
News outlets and social media went after him, Piers Morgan even called it “karma” that he caught the virus after making a blatant mockery out of it.
This incident certainly does not serve to reshape the narrative of criticism surrounding Gen Z’s role in the crisis.
The blatant disregard of the severity of the illness only puts more people in danger, as lack of regard to self isolation or social distance will undoubtedly lead to further cases and more unnecessary deaths.
While TikTok can be used as a platform for spreading entertainment and positivity during these stressful times, it is important for us all to consider the possibility of the role of socials in actively reshaping the narrative that is influential in stopping this pandemic once and for all.
Gen-Z is making light out of this global pandemic and they need to start taking it seriously, just listen to the stories of some of the people affected:
I am the face of this infection. It is brutal and I’m a healthy 48 year old with no underlying conditions.”