In the last few years, social media “challenge” has become a popular movement, but it’s also become a dangerous trend. Participants sometimes receive serious injuries and potentially linking to death, and furthermore social concern.
If you are familiar with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, you may have experienced or watched some challenges. The Cinnamon Challenge, swallowing cinnamon powder within a minute without water, was one of the first popularized trends on the Internet a couple years ago. Although nearly 300,000 challengers tweeted their attempts in a month, “more than 120 emergency calls” were placed to U.S. Poison Control centers in a first three months of 2012, according to Washington Post. Luckily, there has been no report of death regarding this challenge.
Some challenges are safe such as the Saltine Challenge, eating at least five crackers without water in a minute, the Banana Challenge, eating a banana with pantyhose over one’s head, and the Banana-Sprite Challenge, consuming two bananas and a can of Sprite at the same time. These dares just sicken participants and viewers.
However, one dangerous trend, the Fire Challenge, has rapidly increased its popularity on the Internet and has appealed to teenagers as well. It is very simple; challengers rub flammable liquid on their skin and set themselves on fire.
It is concerning for two reasons; the possibility that participants will receive serious burns and, the chance that other things will catch fire.
Unfortunately, several teenage victims were hospitalized with second degree burns despite warning from police and firefighters.
In the Fire Challenge, the girl who burned a quarter of her body said “I saw a lot of people do it, and I never saw anyone die from it,” according to NBC Philadelphia.
The Fire Challenge is clearly perilous. On the other hand, the Ice Bucket Challenge is relatively harmless. It is either pouring a bucket of iced water on one’s head or donating a hundred dollars to the ALS Association. It is not only civilian movement, but also many celebrities and even politicians get involved. Unlike previous challenges, it seems safe and has a conceptual purpose that raises awareness of ALS. However, the Ice Bucket Challenge may be more famous now than the meaning of ALS.
While the Ice Bucket Challenge doesn’t cause harm physically, there is a moral concern: wasting water.
As we are in California, it is obvious that we have face a drought. And dumping water over someone’s head seems especially wasteful when considering that some countries in the world have critical water shortages.
Social media is a very useful tool to explore the trends but it also makes so many copycats without moral concerns and social warnings. In addition, this massive social networking world often creates illogical events spreading over the world. Any challenges inspired by those events are apparently up to you; however, we should once consider whether the attempt harms ourselves physically and our society.