Chain Letters Effect on Young Children

February 15, 2011
By compelledviolinist8 BRONZE, Los Angeles, California
compelledviolinist8 BRONZE, Los Angeles, California
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without" or "I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not."

Have you ever received a text message or an email threatening that you will die, or have bad luck, if you don’t forward the message? These dreaded messages are called “Chain Letters”. Chain letters basically promise you good luck, prosperity, money, love, etc. if you forward them. But, they also promise you dead, bad luck, harm, etc. if you do not forward them. Most of us all know that these are all false promises yet we still forward them to all our peers. They can be traumatizing for some younger children therefore changing their life and maybe even their view of thinking. Yet why do we forward these terrible messages? Maybe because, even after we delete the message without forwarding it we still have a pinch of fear in our stomach. Sometimes we even feel extreme paranoia in the back of our heads. Chain letters are a complete waste of time but, somehow, these messages still impact us so deeply.

Many children get traumatized deeply from obnoxious chain letters. Many articles have been written about the effect of scary chain letters on children but readers just ignore this effect and continue sending these horrendous messages. There was an article about chain letters and it included an example of a chain letter about Bloody Mary. One child commented “I’m 11 years old, and I feel really gullible. When I first read it I was terrified. I probably gave other kids nightmares from sending the email out of fear. She/he clearly states that she was terrified and probably terrified a handful of other children because of the chain letter. This may scare children a lot. Some of you may say “Why are they scared? Chain letters are fake!” You may know that but not all children know that chain letters fake.

This child was not the only child who got incredibly frightened from a horrid chain letter. There are many different chain letters but they are all frightening for children. Another comment about a chain letter was from a different person’s point of view. A mother, she commented “My eleven year old daughter received and sent on to her friends, one of those email chain letters. As, adults we realize this is silly, but it genuinely scared my daughter, and she did as instructed. The chain letter this mother is talking about basically says that she has nine hundred seconds to forward the message to twenty four people or someone will come and murder her. Her child was literally terrified and had absolutely no choice but to forward it. You may be saying “No one is forcing her to forward it! It’s fake!” It may not seem like she isn’t being forced to forward it but it’s the only way to ease her fear a tiny bit. She was pressured into forwarding it from her fear.

There are yet even more children that got impacted horrifically by chain letters. Different children of different ages get these messages daily. A thirteen year old, who is a bit older, commented “Recently, I checked my MSN email account. I am thirteen. I scrolled down the emails and there were loads of chain mails, as usual. I opened them and read them. One of them said a clown would come and get you in the night and slit your throat at exactly 3am. It scared me to death. That night I was shaking and crying and I couldn't stop. Every night I think is my last. This poor child was so scared she wasn’t able to sleep! She was crying and shacking uncontrollably, thinking every night would be her last. Why would you want to horrify a child like that? This girl was affected a lot by a single lying chain letter. She was unable to sleep. One chain letter changed this girl’s way of thinking completely.

We have looked at many different children’s opinions and obviously seen how chain letters can change a child’s life. Two eleven year olds and a thirteen year old all have different stories involving different chain letters but they also all have the same stories. They were all terrified and pressured into sending a horrific chain letter. There are many different chain letters with many different lies but they are all cruel for children one way or another.

The author's comments:
This is an essay I wrote for school about the effect that chain letters might have on young children.

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This article has 2 comments.

on Feb. 25 2011 at 6:29 pm
compelledviolinist8 BRONZE, Los Angeles, California
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without" or "I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not."

I understand where you are coming for but when I saw it changes their life I mean it changes their whole view of thinking. I guess every child is different 

on Feb. 25 2011 at 9:41 am
kelliemrobbins, State Center, Iowa
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I disagree with the first paragraph.  I don't honestly thing that a simple false forward will affect a childs life or harm them.  If they have a question about it, they can just simply ask their parent or a peer.  Eventually they will learn that these are not real.  When I was young, i remember receiving things like this and after the third or so one I received, I knew they were not real.

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