By Fiona O'Reilly
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been put to the test every day. Citizens are forced to choose whether to do their civic duty of following CDC safety guidelines or if they will disobey these guidelines to attend social gatherings. Although there are numerous Americans who choose to follow recommended guidelines in order to protect themselves and others, countless people have chosen to ignore all recommended safety protocols, and some of these people are social media influencers.
Over the summer, TikTok influencers with millions of followers were under the spotlight due to their irresponsibility and ignorance toward COVID-19 safety guidelines. Many people are aware of popular influencers Bryce Hall and Blake Gray after they were charged by Los Angeles officials for throwing parties and ignoring CDC safety guidelines regarding COVID-19, but the immense amount of backlash they faced was not a big enough message to stop other influencers from partying and traveling.
Reproduced with permission from Libertinus
Although many are missing the party scene, CDC guidelines still prohibit them.
Just this month, TikTok influencers Charli and Dixie D’Amelio were spotted in the Bahamas along with other influencers, including Chase Hudson, Noah Beck and Madi Monroe. After receiving insults from angered fans, Beck attempted to defend the trip by saying the group had taken a private jet and that the trip was important for their mental health, claiming that they needed this time to get away and reset. Mental health has been a struggle for many during this pandemic especially because of the lockdowns that have followed, but most critics pointed out that not everyone can travel on a private jet to cope with stress.
It begs the question: should influencers be held to higher standards than regular people, even if they are just teenagers? Should they be required to speak up about all social and political issues? Some believe that these influencers are just teenagers trying to have fun and enjoy their life, and that they should not be expected to carry the burden of influencing a large group of people. Others believe that with a platform comes massive responsibilities, and if they can not make a positive influence in the public eye, they should step away from their platform. Students at New Hyde Park believe that being given a public platform is not something one should take lightly.
“Nowadays, the bare necessities are considered political, such as being responsible during a pandemic. This topic shouldn’t be up for debate, and influencers should speak up about it,” said freshman Annmarie Kurian.
“In this day and age, it is inevitable to be involved and aware of political and social issues. Anyone that has influence upon a large group, especially younger generations, should use their platform to make the world a better place,” said freshman Michayla Rinaldi.