Memes have become synonymous with social media, as they are weaved throughout our social feeds. But has anyone considered that they may cause more harm than humor?
A meme is typically a visual form of communication, in which a picture with a relatable message written on it expresses a certain feeling or emotion towards an event or action. In some cases, internet memes can be humorous if they shed light on something relatable among a population, like procrastination among college students, or “nagging” parents among teenagers. The meme below is an example of what could be relatable for a wide range of people who spend more time than expected on social media, a video game, or watching a video. These memes are often comical because they are very accurate for so many, including myself.
You underestimated my power pic.twitter.com/fugIGDrfT1
— Funny Memes (@memeadikt) January 22, 2020
However, memes like the one below can be triggering for some. Depending on the consumer, this meme may be taken lightly, while for others, this meme may be encouraging a dangerous action or self-harm. Consumers may struggle with mental health issues and this type of content, that was probably made to be sarcastic, could be detrimental to others.
What should I do? pic.twitter.com/mtqhr1l3bB
— Funny Memes (@memeadikt) January 21, 2020
Because memes often depict an individual’s opinions, emotions, or biases, memes could be offensive towards various populations. This can result in consequences for the content creator. An example of these consequences is when a group of newly accepted Harvard students lost admission over offensive memes. These students posted insensitive memes about minorities and sexual assault, and as a result, had their admission to Harvard revoked.
Ultimately, depending on the consumer and content, memes could be a fun way of communicating, but they can also be dangerous and have repercussions. Therefore, proceed with caution when posting memes for the masses to see and find on personal accounts.