Concepts like the clown scare and other social media trends tend to play on our innate human emotions. By experiencing fear in a controlled setting, a person can get a rush without actually having to experience danger. When a person describes a situation that the brain deems scary, dopamine is released. This causes that energetic rush that a person gets from watching a scary movie or finishing a haunted house. The human brain goes into a fight-or-flight responses, and to enjoy fear, a person needs to know that they are in a safe environment and are not in any actual physical danger. When a person gets a dopamine rush from surviving a situation perceived as dangerous, they can acquire a self esteem boost and sense of resiliency too. However, if everyone always gets so freaked out by creepy social media trends like the clown scares, then why do they keep happening. It is possible that surviving somethings like a creepy clown lurking in your neighborhood, you can get that same sort of survival rush as surviving another scary yet safe experience.
A major component of fear is anticipation and suspense. With the clown scare, there is the waiting for a clown to be spotted in your neighborhood or come to your school. In newer trends like “momo,” there is the chance of having that creepy photo be sent to your phone. The idea of not knowing exactly when something is going to strike intensifies the fear surrounding it. All the while, a person knows that they will, most likely, be safe from whatever that scary thing is. Perpetuating these scary trends, while dangerous, may be linked to the dopamine rush of experiencing them. However, when taken too far, even scares with the most light-hearted roots, like horror movie promotion, can become dangerous. This can lead to mass hysteria and, in the case of “momo,” children committing dangerous tasks in order to avoid the made-up consequences. The most dangerous element of most of these trends is that they are often marketed towards children, who are often not emotionally mature enough to deem whether or not something is actually a threat.