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Is Extreme Phone Pinching the Worst Internet Trend Ever?

23:08Ciaran McCormick

Social media crazes have a long history of controversy. Some have propelled good causes into the public eye. Others have been so stupid and dangerous that they have single-handedly quickened the pace of natural selection. The latest trend is 'Extreme Phone Pinching', which has been around for a few months and is picking up momentum online. It involves people holding their expensive phones precariously between just a thumb and finger. They dangle them over steep drops, drains or water. The thrill comes from the possibility that they will drop them.


This fits the mould of most social media trends. It can be easily copied since most people can film or photograph it with  their smartphones. There is definitely an element of peer pressure, though there is no nomination element that has made many other trends go viral. Most importantly, it involves an element of risky and unusual behaviour with the potential for embarrassment.

However, this is a particularly stupid trend. It is the ultimate first world privilege to be able to risk our possessions. It is the shameless flaunting of wealth that we can afford to lose. That may be why I do not find the images or videos especially compelling. If they really didn't want to lose their phones, they would not pinch them over a cliff. If they do accidentally drop them, then it doesn't affect me, and they probably deserve to lose it anyway.


Strangely, while it shows that people are willing to risk their phones for cheap thrills, it shows just how attached to technology we are. The sick fascination this challenge provokes is the same as watching an unsecured person walk a tightrope across a canyon or waterfall. The fact that we care so much about whether a phone is destroyed shows that they have a central place in our lives.


It is probably difficult to argue that this is the most dangerous internet trend ever. Many have been mind-numbingly stupid, such as 'Neknominate', where people downed drinks and died. The 'Fire Challenge' is a particularly disturbing example, where YouTube and Facebook had to start pulling videos because young people were setting themselves on fire and trying to put it out in water, which not all of them managed.


The difference is that these videos are utterly compelling to the twisted people that make and watch them. The banality and meaningless of extreme phone pinching make it a whole different type of trend. It is just privileged people showing off their grotesque attachment to meaningless possessions. 

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