JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – 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 that he first learned about his son’s death when he watched 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 would you post that all? I reported it but people sharing it should be ashamed.”
The dream wrote: “It’s the fact that people don’t see a problem with that Icon park video. You can bring awareness to someone’s death without posting them dying. Who raised y’all.”
Noah wrote: “Why did I just see a video of a kid falling off a free fall ride at Icon Park in Orlando?!?! Why is that video going around on Twitter? Come on, man!!”
Kente Roots wrote: “I’m so mad I pressed on that video. I wasn’t expecting to see that poor baby drop to his death. There should’ve been a trigger warning before watching… Shut that Orlando free fall icon park with immediate effect.”
Jennifer wrote: “IF YOU SEE THE VIDEO OF THE CHILD FALLING FROM THE ICON PARK RIDE IN ORLANDO, REPORT IT!! DO NOT SHARE IT!!! HIS FAMILY DOES NOT NEED THE DEATH OF THEIR SON ALL OVER THE INTERNET!”
Related: ‘Avoidable tragedy’: State senator calls for closure of Orlando thrill ride | Vigil held for 14-year-old boy who died in fall from Orlando thrill ride
News4JAX spoke with a social media expert about what people can do to protect themselves from seeing disturbing images online.
One way is to turn off the “autoplay” feature on social media videos.
“From a technical perspective, yes, you can absolutely turn off autoplay and use some of the settings and features that social media companies have to protect yourself,” Roxie Reeve, 3D Digital Director of Marketing, said. “It’s very simple to do. So you just go into your preferences and Settings section, you can turn off autoplay, that’s one thing that will help, often the caption will kind of lead you to understand what that video is about.”
News4JAX learned there is no law that requires social media companies to censor anything — or determine what is too sensitive to air. However, some platforms, like Meta, which operates Facebook and Instagram, have policies against posts that may create an environment that discourages participation.
Even though the video showing Sampson’s death has been reported by dozens of users, Reeve said the responsibility ultimately lies on the user or the users’ parents.
“Being online is all about mindfulness,” Reeve said. “It’s how you use social media as being intentional with who you like, who you engage with, how you interact — and make sure you follow credible news sources.”
It’s likely that children, teenagers and adults are finding it’s really difficult to process seeing something like that video, but experts say communication about what you see Is important.
It’s imperative to be open about how disturbing images can make you feel and develop coping mechanisms so they don’t 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.
another friendly reminder to turn off video autoplay because currently there’s a video going around showing a 14 yr old fall off the drop ride in Orlando’s Icon Park—please go to settings and click on accessibility and then data usage to toggle it off
— 🥪 (@Iuckynumbernine)
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