Seeking attention: Expert weighs in on gross, viral social media stunts

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FLINT (WJRT) - (7/12/19) - There have been several social media stunts in recent weeks that have gone viral. One of the most popular includes a Texas teen shown licking ice cream from a new container then putting it back in the grocery store's freezer. More recently, a Florida mother is in trouble with the law after recording her daughter licking a tongue depressor then putting it back inside an exam room.

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RELATED:Florida mother arrested after recording video of daughter licking tongue depressor, putting it back

"I think that they really are looking for attention," Grace Taylor said.

Flint area psychotherapist Dr. Kathy Barton Brown says the people who pull these pranks and record them could have boundary issues.

"They have boundary issues and then they have passive aggressive behaviors," Brown said. "In society we're learning that we don't have any rules. We do what we want to do."

Matthew Ronan believes they want attention and social media is there to facilitate that.

"When you're talking with teenagers...and peer pressure...and what they have to go through in school, with that kind of a platform that's unregulated, you're going to have problems," Ronan said.

But Dr. Brown says the issue is deeper than that, pointing to a breakdown in how people are being raised. While social media creates the hype around the gross incident, she says it's also been used to identify the people in some of these videos.

"I think social media fans the flames, but I also think social media can be used to deter it by making sure those same people like that young lady who licked the ice cream - also putting on social media that she was arrested and charged," Brown said.

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