Changing the mindset of teenagers navigating the world – Dan Bilzarian and his toys.

If you have an Instagram account and you’re a male within the age of 15-28 you will most likely have come across Dan Bilzarian’s infamous Instagram account. So who exactly is Dan Bilzarian? Son of a convicted corporate takeover specialist, He is a professional poker player that has gained tremendous fame through his Instagram account. His lifestyle as depicted on Instagram is so extravagant and unrealistic that it makes it extremely entertaining and interesting, yet with dire social consequences.

I cannot show you many pictures of his account because of the insane amount of inappropriate pictures (staying just within the posting limits of Instagram) that he posts on there, but here are some examples of his crazy lifestyle:Screenshot 2015-03-10 16.06.44Screenshot 2015-03-10 16.05.05

The reason why I can’t show a lot of them is that a lot of them involving women strip down to the bare minimum and pressed against him or in erotic positions suggestive of imminent sexual engagement. There are also a lot of pictures of exotic cars, trips on private jets and guns that stimulates violence and lust within viewers. Since his profile is public, anyone with an Instagram is able to follow the “King of Instagram” and be enlightened by his exuberant lifestyle. Currently, his Instagram account has 7 million followers and his Facebook page has also around 7 million “likers”. Screenshot 2015-03-10 16.03.30Screenshot 2015-03-10 16.04.33

I mentioned Dan Bilzarian because I have read a couple of blog post (Here is one) by my fellow #IS6621 peers about the possible effects of social media on children. I think that social media accounts like Bilzarian’s can be problematic for children, but it poses an even bigger threat to the teenagers that are beginning to discover who they are and how they should behave in the world. Teenagers are very impressionable. Everything about Dan Bilzarian illustrates a life that is unattainable and the teenagers in their discovery mode may idolize him and believe that in order to be successful in life, you will need to act in a way that is similar to Dan Bilzarian. His posts promote adultery, violence and for men to treat women as objects, nothing more than play things like his cars and guns. This is very ethically concerning.Screenshot 2015-03-10 16.05.46

Although social media is not the first piece of technology that has enable the youthful minds to be corrupted, the readily availability and instant engagement is something that social media enables. The past few years have seen many videos uploaded on social media sites that showcase school fights or public indecency. New stories have been reported with regularity regarding violence that is initiated through social media. This article illustrates how rival game members are using social media to instigate fights and retaliation, causing many precious lives to be lost. There are even fight compilation videos on YouTube that showcase a collection of daily fights, usually taken with mobile phones and uploaded to social media sites. (Warning: It might be disturbing to some of you so I did not embedded it rather linked it to the youtube video. There are some that requires you to sign in but when has that stopped teenagers from viewing the content? This following one from last year had 6.4 million views)

To bring home my point, when I was a freshman in my high school, a classmate of mine actually convinced a female classmate of mine to take off her bar through Skype and proceed in recording the whole thing. Not only did he recorded the episode, he then decided to showcase the video and share it with his friends on whatsapp and in the end tries to blackmail the female classmate of mine for monetary gains. This was in 2009 and it is not surprising that these episodes have happened more often with the growth of social media. 640x-1

With the growth of various momentary and anonymous social media platforms (Yes, Yik Yak and Snapchat are the ones I am particularly concerned with), I am particularly worried the impact social media has on teenagers. Social media sites are not going away. Children do in fact get more parental guidance as to how to best utilize these sites, but what happens when they reach the stage where their began to have control of their own freedom? Let me know what you think as I am certainly one who is very worried with the improper use of social media amongst teenagers.

(All images obtained from Dan Bilzarian’s public profile while the picture of Australian International School Hong Kong was obtained via Google images)

12 comments

  1. I am so glad you posted about this! I follow Dan Bilzerian, myself. Even though i detest the thought of a person like Dan Bilzerian, you can’t look away. Sadly, I had not thought until now about how I am just condoning his actions and the social media presence that they most definitely have. His accounts are not appropriate for children to be following and commenting on. I would say his account is not even appropriate for high schoolers to be following. Nearly every picture he posts has some sort of message having to do with the commoditization of women displats him blowing his Bazooka off of his stainless steel Range Rover in the middle of a desert…

    This account is not something that should have as many followers as it does, but I completely understand why it does.

  2. I too am guilty of being a Dan Bilzerian follower. I like how you brought him up and compared it to the influence social media has on youth. Dan Bilzerian is just one of a number of different examples of people who have become famous through their Instagram posts. How many “Instagram models” are there now?

    I think if kids don’t see if through Instagram, they will be exposed to it via television or video games. It is nearly impossible to keep this content our of people’s hands. The best thing to do is educate children early about the proper use of social media and explain to them what is real and what is fake. I would go so far to say this should be taught or incorporated into the curriculum of students in middle school so they are aware immediately.

    1. I completely agree with you. Ever since the first media outlets, the youth mindsets have been influenced by many different things. It is near impossible to keep these content away from youth but as you mentioned, perhaps teaching them the proper use may be the first step to educating them to this type of media

  3. Interesting post, I don’t follow Dan Bilzerian, but I am aware of who he is. I understand where you are coming from in this blog post but I think it’s just scratching the surface on a larger problem. To echo Winston’s point above, ultimately adults, parents/guardians/teachers need to be involved and educate today’s youth on morals and how to properly use social media.

    Furthermore, when posts like these are put online the proper measures need to be put in place to punish these kids so that a precedent is set. I think almost everyone has a story of some guy or girl that was embarrassed (putting that lightly…) in school by someone taking advantage of their insecurities. The only thing that has changed is the technology involved. To that end, because there is a smoking gun of sorts, it should be easier to catch these idiots and put a stop to it…. (unfortunately I don’t think that is the case).

    1. I’d had to say that sometimes parents don’t set the perfect example on social media to the youth as well. As we are all learning about SM and its benefits and disadvantages, I think perhaps there needs to be a radical rethink of the education systems all around the world.

      It will be different to have proper measures being taken about these posts because there will be people arguing about it being against freedom of expression…. It is very difficult issue I think we have at hand.

  4. This guy seems like a total douche, but at the same time, he posts crazy stuff that you just can’t look away. He clearly wants recognition for his extravagant lifestyle and people marketing their lives has seemed to invade Facebook as well. Even with just BC students, I have to see the daily posts and pictures of people traveling in exotic locations, having great social lives and overall seemingly living these great lives. Meanwhile, I have a profile picture from 2012. Anyways, he is obviously a crappy bro dude that needs constant validation for his lifestyle. Showing off has become a trend and being subtle about seems to be more popular, but he is clearly being an attentionwhore about it. Unfortunately, the hordes of future bros and douches will see his Instagram and think its cool and the way forward. Hopefully they will look up to other, more admirable people on social media.

  5. Much like the other commenters, I follow Dan Bilzerian and am simultaneously disgusted and entranced by his posts. To me, I don’t view it as a real lifestyle that I should strive for. It just seems like fake like to me. That being said, I know there are probably teens and younger adults who see his Instagram posts and aspire to be him and have his life, which is obviously a problem in today’s society. I think you also touch upon a very important point about the anonymity of social media. Both Yik Yak and Snapchat further the ability for people to anonymously bully others via social media. Let’s just hope that the current generation of high school students won’t be forever ruined by the social environment in which they are being raised.

    1. I have got to say that you will be surprise about how many people dressed up as Dan Bilzerian for Halloween….. teen and young adults seemingly believe that this lifestyle is the end reward for what success means… money, power and women.

  6. My question is whether this is all that different from the gangster rappers and heavy metal musicians of my generation. They do outrageous behavior to get attention (much of it an act, eg. Alice Cooper). I guess the question is whether the social media channels and the “me too” participation takes it to another level.

  7. Once again, we see the dark side of social media. It allows us to interact, collaborate with others leading to positive, productive engagement, but then we have this. Dan Blizerian. The toughest thing about him for me was how this guy reached his fame. Rock stars, rappers, athletes who become famous (and then proceed to negatively influence children through whatever actions) are at least, somewhat talented. Yeah, being a successful poker player takes skill, but what really makes him famous is being obnoxious, arrogant, and objectifying all through social media. It’s tough to watch. Sure it is entertaining and most people don’t take what he’s doing and apply it to their personal objectives, but kids who are more impressionable are more likely to idolize this type of behavior. That’s the danger. Also thanks for blog post mention George!

  8. Interesting post. I as well have never heard of Dan Bilzarian at all, but I really find it interesting that you explore this topic. Being from NYC, there are a lot of rich NYC kids that almost everyone in NYC follows on Instagram and talks about as if they are close friends with. These type of people share tons of pictures of their extravagant lifestyles, many of them only rich through their parent’s money. While I am old enough to not be affected by these posts, there are definitely many teenagers who follow them and are affected by them. I even remember this same group of kids would post pictures of drinking and clubbing at young ages, and I would not be surprised if it made younger kids feel that they should be drinking as well. I wish there was a more clean cut way of figuring out how much these different accounts like Dan Bilzarian’s affect teenagers/ society, but it truly is hard to tell.

  9. tcbcmba2015 · ·

    I echo Andrew’s thoughts about this being the dark side of social media. Much like the rest of the internet – there is a lot of potential and space in social media for empowerment and the sharing and collaboration of great ideas (the popularity of this particular post and the number of comments it’s generated is an example of that). But on the other side there’s just a lot of bad people abusing a tool in a really ostentatious way. I hate that such an easily exploitable platform exists for a guy like this – but even if he didn’t have an outlet on social media he’d find another one. That’s the trouble, guys like this always find a way to bring attention to themselves. The trick to solving the problem is figuring out a way to eliminate guys like this or invent a tool to drown out their “noise.”

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