Random Thoughts: #3

Have social experiments gone too far?

There are several social media personalities who take videos “helping” homeless and other vulnerable people and posting them online. This is a trend that’s becoming increasingly common. There was a point when I found these videos heartwarming…but now? I can’t help but wonder if these are people with genuine intentions or people whose main aim is to exploit these vulnerable people for their own selfish reasons.

One particular “humanitarian”, whose name I won’t mention, uploads content that typically involves the whole process of approaching homeless people on the street and asking them a few questions, before taking them to a supermarket and telling them they can fill up their shopping baskets with whatever they’d like. In one of his videos, he approaches two homeless young men who are sleeping on some cardboard, wakes them up, and has a short conversation with them before helping them out. Can you imagine being homeless and someone waking you up with a camera in your face? In another video recorded and uploaded by a different influencer, a man approaches another homeless man begging for money on the street, to ask him for a few cents that he clearly doesn’t need, in order to top up on the money he has so he can buy a meal. This is all to test the homeless man’s reaction.

I’ve also watched Tik Tok videos of some influencers putting homeless people through some kind of “test” before helping them out. In one video, an influencer passes by a homeless man and pretends to drop his phone to see if the homeless man will pick it up and alert him, or pick it up and keep it for himself. When the homeless man alerts him that he’s “dropped” his phone, the influencer then proceeds to give him some money and talks nonstop about how decent the homeless man is because not a lot of people would have done that.

While it’s great that these influencers help these people out, why are there such videos in the first place? If people want to give a vulnerable person money or help them out in one way or another, why can’t they do that without recording them or putting them through some kind of unnecessary test first? In my opinion, this kind of assistance isn’t genuine, and the objective is to use people just for content.

What do you think about these social experiments? Let me know in the comments.

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