Here’s how you can protect yourself from disturbing videos on the Internet

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – People are wondering why the disturbing video of a 14-year-old boy falling to his death from an ICON Park thrill ride last week is still being shared on social media.

Tragically, the teenager’s father, Yarnell Sampson, told reporters he first learned of his son’s death while watching the viral video.

The same video to this day is still trending on Twitter, and many users said they never wanted to see it.

Janel Monai wrote: “I really didn’t need to see a video of a 14 year old falling to his death at ICON Park on my TL (timeline) this morning. Why post all this? I reported it, but the people who share it should be ashamed.

The Dream wrote, “It’s the fact that people don’t see a problem with this Icon Park video. You can raise awareness of someone’s death without displaying them dying. Who raised you.

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Noah wrote: “Why did I just see a video of a child falling from a freefall at Icon Park in Orlando?!?! Why is this video circulating on Twitter? C’mon man!!”

Kente Roots wrote: “I’m so mad I pressed this video. I did not expect to see this poor baby die. There should have been a trigger warning before watching… Close this Orlando skydiving icon park with immediate effect.


Related: ‘Preventable tragedy’: State senator calls for Orlando thrill ride to be closed | Vigil held for 14-year-old boy who died after falling from thrill ride in Orlando

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News4JAX spoke to a social media expert about what people can do to protect themselves from disturbing images online.

One way is to turn off the “autoplay” feature on social media videos.

“From a technical standpoint, yes, you can absolutely turn off autoplay and use some of the settings and features that social media companies have to protect yourself,” said Roxie Reeve, 3D Digital Marketing Manager. ” It’s very simple to do. So you just go to your preferences and the settings section you can disable autoplay, that’s one thing that will help you, often times the caption will lead you to understand what this video is about.

News4JAX has learned that there is no law requiring social media companies to censor anything – or to determine what is too sensitive to air. However, some platforms, like Meta, which operates Facebook and Instagram, have policies against posting that can create an environment that discourages participation.

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Even though the video showing Sampson’s death has been reported by dozens of users, Reeve said the responsibility ultimately lies with the user or the users’ parents.

“Being online is all about mindfulness,” Reeve said. “It’s how you use social media like being intentional about who you like, who you engage with, how you interact – and make sure you follow credible sources of information.”

It’s likely that kids, teens and adults will find it really hard to process seeing something like this video, but experts say communicating about what you’re seeing is important.

It is imperative to be open about how disturbing images may make you feel and to develop coping mechanisms so that they do not influence your mental health and happiness.

Click here to learn how to turn off autoplay on Facebook. Click here to learn how to turn off autoplay on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Chrome and more.

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John C. Dent