Thanks to today’s broadcasting-friendly environment, more people can easily launch their own personal broadcasting channels. The advancement of the Internet and smartphones has also contributed to the rapid development of these platforms. The personal platforms that are possible today give individuals a virtual space where they can introduce their interests such as cosmetics, games, sports, and music. However, several problems have emerged with the increasing number of such platforms. The issues with these platforms are provocative content, over exaggeration, and copyright violations.
Although personal channels broadcast controversial topics to gain more attention from the public, there are no official standards screening such content in advance. The Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) claims that it is difficult to censor all inappropriate content. Even if they tried to do so, it would still be possible for such inappropriate content to be broadcast without getting caught by the KCSC because the criteria inappropriate content is very ambiguous.
On July 28, Dae-Ik Song, a famous Korean YouTuber, uploaded a video of himself eating food from a restaurant called Pizza Nara Chicken GongJu on his channel. In his video, he showed a piece of poorly prepared chicken, argued that the delivery man had eaten some of his chicken, and asked the restaurant for a refund. However, several days later, it was discovered that the incident was just part of his show, leading to a lawsuit from the restaurant.
|[Interview with 10th-grader Eue Jung Kim. Photo credit: Dong Woo Lee]|
Eue Jung Kim, a fan of Dae-Ik Song, voiced his opinion about the influence of streamers. He said, “I was very surprised to see that the streamer became an issue. I was his fan because of the way he spoke and how he organized the content of his video. However, like this incident, there is a lot of provocative content in the digital world. I personally wish that streamers would maintain a proper level of streaming etiquette, because viewers of all ages watch their content.”
Unfortunately, many viewers are unaware that there is plenty of fake news around them. Apart from this incident, there have been other various incidents related to personal channels. For example, one streamer put a link to an illegal gambling website under his channel's description and advertised with the hyperbolic comment that users can buy a house with an investment of $100,000.
Moreover, there are an increasing number of legal cases regarding copyright violations. While using different background music to improve the quality of their videos, streamers do not realize that they are engaging in illegal activity. This shows that both viewers and streamers fail to acknowledge copyright laws and the necessity of raising awareness of the issue.
|[Interview with 11th-grader Nayun Kim. Photo credit: Dong Woo Lee]|
Another emerging issue of the one-man platform system is the level of appropriate contents. Nayun Kim, a student who regularly watches video clips that are uploaded to these platforms, said, “I was surprised with this current issue. I usually watch steamers whose main content is mukbang, a type of eating show, and dance. However, there are streamers who tend to wear inappropriate clothing, making their videos uncomfortable to watch.”
It is mostly minors who are influenced by such inappropriate content because of their lack of understanding of right and wrong. As consumers of mass media, individuals should strengthen their ability to identify fake news and be interested in protecting copyrights in their daily lives.
To solve these current issues, national committees should make a clear standard to build a healthy media community. For example, the KCSC recently regulated sexual and illegal gambling channels as harmful broadcasts and banned them. In addition to the KCSC, YouTube also puts effort into censoring provocative content by strengthening its policy on inappropriate topics. The “yellow mark” system prevents YouTubers from uploading inappropriate content because it prevents them from making profits from such videos.
[Photo of “YouTube’s inappropriate content” warning: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spagnoloacht/8110520794]
Amid various issues, we need to mark a clear boundary to prevent young people from being subject to harmful influence from digital platforms. Platform companies should educate streamers regularly so that they understand the weight of their actions regarding their channels. I am looking forward to seeing what an appropriate and healthy digital media community looks like in the future.
Dong Woo Lee
The Learning Community International
Dong Woo Lee email@example.com
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