CHRIS MOORE — Don’t let social media posts scare you too much

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

It is the scariest time of the year. Soon, if not already, pictures of ghouls, goblins and other terrifying images will flood your timeline. But, like the costumes children wear to solicit candy from your doorsteps, much of what you see online is not real.

I am not talking about the usual fake news created by social media. This is the Halloween-specific fake news that tends to get churned up this time of year. Some of it even predates social media.

When I was younger, word of mouth and some news outlets spread stories about people putting razor blades in candy or intentionally lacing candy with drugs.

While there have been isolated incidents of these things happening, there is no evidence of it being widespread. Statistically, a child is far more likely to be drugged by a relative through candy than on Halloween.

Like your everyday fake news, the legends persist because of how easy it is to spread fear. People tend to be more cautious, even overly so, when it comes to their children. You can almost get someone to believe anything if you can tell them it can harm their children.

And then, here come the clowns. This wasn’t that long ago. A few years back there were some viral videos that spread across the Internet of people committing crimes in clown costumes or just being creepy.

The fear of clowns is one of the more common phobias and then you add a little social media boost and you have the perfect storm for widespread panic.

The Internet is great. It can connect people and make people feel like they belong. It makes a big world feel a little bit smaller.

However, that is also the cause for a lot of fear. Violent crimes rates have dropped dramatically since early 90s, but if you ask people if they feel like it is safer, they will most likely tell you “no.”

People felt safer in a more violent time because a 24-hour news cycle was not present and people were not likely getting news from across the nation. Think about how often you see a story of a gruesome murder only to see it happened in Ohio. In the 90s, that story doesn’t ever get on the radar of someone in Port Arthur.

Now, take 10 videos of people in clown suits across the nation of 330 million people, and make a compilation, those 10 feel like a bigger representation. But it is not. It is just some more hocus pocus.

There is nothing wrong with being safe, but just don’t be too scared.

 

Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.