Viral Violence

If you ask our parents generation, they will tell you, school fights have been happening for years.
But that minor scuffle on the playground has taken a twentieth century twist.
Now school fights can be documented and posted on social media.
The ramifications can be all too deadly.
In our special report this evening I looked into this trend.
And a warning these images may be disturbing.
School fights, they happen at every school.
Now, they're even showing up online.

I decided to see if viral fights are happening in the Wiregrass.

And it was as easy as logging onto to YouTube.

And it didn't take me long to find school fight videos from Dothan, Enterprise, Daleville, and the list goes on.
So what drives teens to take the yelling and punching to a universal platform?

Is it an extent of bullying or for popularity?

We decided to ask them.
Eight teens from across the Wiregrass, in one room.

We wanted to see what they think about this new social media trend.

And even ask them if they have been involved
It was time to take the gloves off.

Their reactions, were telling, some smiling, others hid their faces in shame and disbelief.

While some shook their heads.

"What's the point in actually videoing it and putting it on social media, because you're just trying to get attention for yourself," says one student from Headland High School.

These teens say it's so common for video fights to happen when fights break out at school, the first thing they do is reach for a cell phone, making it easy to press record, from there it can be shared on YouTube or any social media site, making it easy for it to be viewed from any device within seconds.

"How long does it take for you to see a fight if it happens at school?"
"Oh almost immediately, if someone records a fight and has it on video I have seen it in ten or fifteen minutes," says one student from Northview High School.

"As soon as you hear shouts or screams people are running down the hallway," says Jack Stansell, a senior from Dothan High School.

"People egging it on," says another student.

"Our generation is so obsessed with the virtual stuff, just fighting people it's all about the YOLO, you only live once you might as well fight somebody," says Jack Stansell, a senior from Dothan High School.

But it goes beyond proving a point.
Some teens say reality shows like Love & Hip Hop, Real Housewives of Atlanta and bad girls club help teens gain celebrity status after their fights go viral.

"You're clearly going to get attention from a fight and the more people put it on social media, the more attention it gets, and it just encourages more fights to happen, that's the biggest problem with putting it on social media to me," says Jack Stansell, a senior from Dothan High School.

These teens want their peers to understand once it's viral; it's difficult to completely erase access to it.

"What you post will always come back to you, so like number 1, if you post it, like you never know if your next job will be like well you endorsed fighting, and number 2 I feel bad for the person who is in it and they have a lesser chance of getting hired because they were seen fighting in a video, so no one really wins when you post it," says Angela Flowers, a junior from Carroll High School.

"What if you were in that situation and somebody was recording you and you weren't doing so well in the fight, I mean that would embarrass you, you don't know what they’re going to do with that video," says Jasmine Torres, a junior at Carroll High School.

Leaving the video to be open to the World Wide Web.
This is only the first part of our investigation.
Tomorrow...we look into the legal ramifications, teens could face if video fights happen on or off campus.
Join us tomorrow right here on WRGX News at 5:30 for the second part of our series.

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