Recently there has been an outpouring of millions of social media users performing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Some say this new technique of using social media to raise awareness is a great advance for the world; however, this trend, and others like it, may actually be causing our society to become more narcissistic than charitable.
Donations are supposed to be contributions of time or money without the benefactor receiving any sort of compensation. As such, can we really say that these ALS Ice Bucket Challenges are charitable donations? No, those being filmed are not receiving money, but they are receiving attention, to the point that the focus is more on themselves than on the actual disease.
This trend is instilling in our minds that any charitable act we perform needs to be tied back to us, that a big old sign stating, “I made this contribution” must be hung around our necks in order to motivate us to donate.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and others like it are great, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be supported, but are they being promoted for the right reasons? We should focus on inspiring in the individual — not the collective —a desire to do good and support worthy causes. We should teach people to not only do the right thing but also do it for the right reason. Passion, not peer pressure, should promote our good works.