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‘Do you know Dr. Hong?’ Moms say they wish they didn’t

Sept. 27, 2023 - 13:25 By No Kyung-min
A screen capture shows Jojubong dancing in a music video. (Courtesy of The Myeonsang)

Breaking the internet in Korea with its catchy, electronic beats and amusing choreography, “Do you know Dr. Hong?” is the latest viral dance challenge to captivate teens and young adults across various social media platforms.

At the center of the craze is Jojubong, the digital persona of the Korean comedian Jo Hoon, renowned for running the comedy YouTube channel, "The Myeonsang."

Since its initial release in July, the original music video has accumulated five million views as of Wednesday. It has spawned numerous short follow-up videos on social media, featuring individuals participating in the dance challenge.

However, the song is not totally innocuous, as it contains content intended for an adult audience. The accompanying music video narrates the origin of the song's dance moves, which are based on Dr. Hong’s prescribed treatment for enhancing certain physical attributes.

Recently, concerns have surfaced regarding the exposure of children to the trend. They not only sing the lyrics to the song but also mimic the dance moves, both of which are deemed inappropriate for their age.

"My daughter said she was annoyed by boys singing the song in school. I can see why kids dance to it, but when I heard the lyrics, I understood why moms are concerned about children singing it," said a mother of a 10-year-old in Gyeonggi Province.

"But there's nothing much parents can do when it comes to YouTube, since most kids have access to it on their phones now."

An online community of mothers of young children in Seoul’s Seocho-gu expressed their apprehension regarding the detrimental influence of the song on their children.

“The music expresses blatant sexual overtones,” one user said, “and I want to report YouTube for disseminating harmful content to children.”

As the song went viral, even the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs parodied a part of the song on X, formerly Twitter. It tweeted “do you know that the tolls are free (for the roads) during Chu Chu Chu Chu Chuseok?" on Sep. 14, apparently mimicking the song’s line “Hong Hong Hong Hong Hong baksanim,” where "Hong baksanim" refers to Dr. Hong.

Their attempt to connect with the public garnered both negative and positive responses, with some disapproving of the inappropriate parody by a public institution and others finding humor in the situation.

A screenshot of different YouTube Shorts showing people doing the Dr. Hong Dance Challenge (Courtesy of YouTube)