Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Experts Call Viral Trend Harmful to Relationships

Pranks aren’t new, and neither is emotional manipulation or social media. But one disturbing new trend turns them into a noxious combination.

Coined by writer Jessica Lindsay, the term “cloutlighting” is when YouTube personalities film themselves shocking their partners with abusive behavior in order to build their brand. It’s a portmanteau of the phrase “gaslighting,” which is a form of emotional manipulation, and “clout,” which is the recognition and access that comes with large numbers of clicks and video plays.

Examples range from the mild (parents filming their toddlers freaking out after telling them their Halloween candy is gone) to the extreme (one young man claims to have put spicy chili seeds in his girlfriend’s tampon and films her reaction), but the general effect is still the same—loved ones are mistreated for a chance at viral fame.

This practice is being decried as cruel by relationship experts like Ammanda Major, of the consultant service Relate. “A joke only works if two people are in on it,” says Major. “If you’re constantly riding roughshod over people’s emotions and trying to humiliate them, the relationship isn’t respectful.”

Potential Preaching Angles:

There’s a big difference between lighthearted jesting and relational abuse. Let’s not become so thirsty for attention that we degrade ourselves and our loved ones. Instead, live with integrity and celebrate the good that exists in our circles of influence.


Melanie Palmer, “Shocking trend sweeping social media, experts say it can be dangerous to mental health,” Valley News Live (1-02-19)

Related Sermon Illustrations

Scientist Admits to Space Chorizo Hoax

A prominent scientist was forced to apologize after pranking his Twitter followers with a photo. Étienne Klein posted a picture of what he claimed was a high-powered telescope ...

[Read More]

Internet Jokers Regret Royal Rumors

Because the British royal family lives under constant media scrutiny, it’s usual for any member of the family to stay out of the limelight for an extended period. So, when Catherine ...

[Read More]