The ‘Flaunt Your Wealth’ Challenge, and the destructive effects of Instagram culture

Instagram culture is a strange phenomenon that has become apparent in the last few years. Out of this, we have seen food pictures, dog videos and makeup tutorials. However, there is a dark side to these innocuous videos: destructive Instagram trends.

The ‘Flaunt Your Wealth’ challenge is not so much a challenge as much as an attempt to show off all of your valuable possessions in one picture. Teens and young adults have been pictured ‘falling’ out of their luxury vehicles, lying partly in the car, partly on the floor. Various expensive devices, perfumes and food items are then scattered around them, as though they have fallen out of the car with them. The point of all of this is simply to show off your possessions and make your lifestyle seem desirable.

This mindset can be really destructive not only to those who view these posts but also to the posters themselves. Numerous studies have found that Instagram is by far the worst social media platform for young people, with the RSPH stating that “Social media may be fuelling a mental health crisis.” Posts such as these depicting wealthy lifestyles far and above that of the average teenager do not help with such issues, and may even fuel them further by continually making young people feel inadequate.

This pressure stems even beyond the viewers of these images, however. The creators of these images often are troubled themselves, as the pressure to appear perfect on social media comes to a head in trends like these. In the past, there have been other such crazes to sweep across China and Russia like the ‘A4 paper challenge’. This challenge required people, usually young women, to hold a piece of A4 paper in front of themselves to prove that their waists and hips were narrower than the sheet (21 inches). The destructive nature of these challenges can have real consequences, leading to severe declines in self-worth and mental wellbeing.

Instagram has done little to tackle such issues, with these ‘Rich Kids of Instagram’ seeking to only continue coming up with more ways to exaggerate their lifestyles and achievements, way past the point of truth in many cases. This is why it is essential that Instagram become more vigilant on these less obvious, but just as destructive, trends on their platform. To tackle this, they need to intervene when it seems that challenges such as these go past the point of fun, and instead verge on being damaging.

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