First there was “Planking.” Then came “The Choking Game.” Suddenly the World Wide Web overflowed with outrageous youth trends, shared and traded on the social media like an outbreak of herpes. Today we are in a crisis of reckless teen antics celebrated on sites like Facebook, Itunes and Youtube. From “vodka eyeballing” to smoking Smarties, from “Brony Parties” to “butt chugging,” children are taking incredible risks with their lives and parents are none the wiser.
The sad fact is that young people are often unprepared to deal with the harsh reality of the internet. By logging online, they’re exposed to people outside their communities, their families and their faith. There may be an older boy with police record clicking on the other end of Facebook. Or a girl from an inner city with her own axe to grind. We may never know, but one thing is clear: children are dying all over the nation because of the peer pressure to be “cool” on the web.
Recently, a curious keyword popped up in my internet filters and I decided to take a closer look. The phrase was “fapping” and innocently enough I devoted one weekend to understanding the strange subculture behind this odd bit of secret slang. What I uncovered was both graphic and shocking. I should warn you, what follows is not for the faint of heart but it is a crucial message for parents today.
“Fapping” is a phrase that was coined on the illegal Chinese website 4-chan (meant to sound phonetically like an Asian pronouncing “Fortune”). Much as the name suggests, this website celebrates a combination of Oriental mysticism and an interest in moneymaking (through trading of illegal download content). On 4-chan, the subculture of “hipsterism” remains strong and as such, the users here are always looking to launch a new fad on the internet. You may have heard of this website as news analyst Bill O’Reilly recently dedicated an entire segment to the threat that it poses to American families.
With fapping, the 4-channers found the perfect way to express their pagan mysticism with an eye to profit. The word itself has an obscene meaning. Fapping, in essence, represents a type of personal gratification with a twist. To the outside observer, it appears to be masturbation, mainly male masturbation, of a most unrepentant and malicious nature. It is a non-procreative function, and thus celebrates nihilism over family values, socialism over Christianity. It is vocal and rapid, harsh and chafing. Done through the aid of streaming hardcore internet pornography, it has driven enormous profits to those who make x-rated content. The twist here is that it’s often done in collusion with others. A grand internet social protest, if you will. Linked up through nefarious underground websites like Omegle, Reddit and Foursquare, “fappers” use message boards and video link ups to push each other into competitions and illicit bodily displays. For the web businesses in question, this trend has reaped them millions upon millions of dollars.
Could this happen to your children? Sadly, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Teens are often lured into the obscure corners of the internet through unusual hyperlinks and racy photographs. Once inside a 4-chan or a Reddit, young people are confused and lost. They may take a wrong turn and end up cornered by bullies with menacing screen-names extolling rape and homosexuality. Overwhelmed by the fast-paced action of these message boards, they feel like there is no choice but to give in to the peer pressure. That’s when the masturbation begins. Taunts and tears keep the young man going at first. He will push himself to physical extremes, risking penile fracture, infertility, homosexuality and much worse.
Later, the fapper will return again and again to these fetid websites, chasing down the rush of a fap high. No, it will never be as thrilling as the first time. The threats are still there, but the promise of acceptance, of finally being in the “it crowd” is long past. He used to think he was breaking all the rules, but soon he realizes that on websites like 4-chan there are no more rules to be broken. You can’t be an outlaw in the underground fap community for they live entirely outside the rule of law. Whether it’s bestiality or sex dolls, dead infants or testicle electrodes, these people have seen it all.
Then comes the bitterness, the anguish. Alone and enraged, the fap addict turns to luring other teens into their sickening world. The prey becomes the predator. It’s a vicious cycle.
Studies have shown that masturbation addicts are disproportionately represented in the under- and unemployed. Close to 98% of marijuana smokers and those serving time in prison are masturbators. They tend to prioritize sleep and the internet over work and family. Ethnically, minorities show a greater disposition to erotic personal gratification over other groups, though these numbers level out once we look at educational backgrounds. Indeed, those who focus on math and the sciences in their academics tend to favor masturbation far more, while teens who devote themselves to athletics are lured into this trap significantly less.
One interesting facet of the masturbation trap is that it can perpetuate the inherent disadvantages of minorities and the socially inept. In public, the chronic masturbator is often an outcast, unwashed and unloved, as he moves from his parent’s basement to a dorm room to an inner city apartment. His chances for employment are severely limited. Hiring managers long ago read the data and realized that fappers have much shorter attention spans and never enough energy to complete even the most basic tasks. Shunned from the workplace, the masturbator takes refuge in his nasty habit, devoting increasing amounts of resources to locate the perfect bed, the most pliable pillow and the fastest internet connection. It’s not long before fapping becomes a gateway to marijuana, as the unemployed and disgraced addict seeks some way to escape the horror of his sour fate. Sadomasochism, welfare, crystal meth, a life of crime and even prison await the young man who has tumbled into this downward spiral.
The good news is that parents can do a great deal to prevent the fap fad from affecting their family. We should always be vigilant about what websites our teens are using and willing to confront them when we see objectionable content. Beyond that, casual monitoring is the key. When a child becomes unnecessarily dependent on solitude and uses closed doors to separate himself from the family, mothers and fathers need to take notice. If a teen’s masturbation habit takes a sudden turn for the worse, don’t be afraid to step in. Mothers, be aware if tissues and Vaseline are disappearing from the home. Dirty sheets, strong odors and unusually crusty stains are another warning sign you can look out for. If a boy is taking lengthy showers, you have a responsibility to check on him to make sure he’s not injured or gratifying. Fathers, once you’ve gathered the evidence, have a talk with your boy and let him know that this whole fap fad is dangerous and immoral and just a passing trend. Who knows, maybe next year the internet will be crazy for face shaving and Wrestlemania!