From Funny to Fatal: The Dangerous Side of Popular Online Challenges

By Alexandra Marusko, Social Media Editor

Every month, new challenges take over social media, but recently, some memes have taken a dangerous turn.

The latest challenge involves Tide Pods, which some are calling,“the forbidden snack,” due to the pods candy-like resemblance.

What started off as a picture of a pizza with Tide Pods on it posted onto social media, spiraled off into a challenge where people eat the pods, which contain ingredients like ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and polymers – all of which can be deadly if consumed.

According to speculation, this is the post that sparked the Tide Pod meme.

As of January 2017, at least ten deaths, ages 13-19, have been linked to the Tide Pod craze.

However, Tide Pods are not the first challenge to cause harm.

One of the first challenges to appear on the internet was the infamous Cinnamon Challenge, which first appeared on the internet in 2001.

In this challenge, one would eat a spoonful of cinnamon in one minute without any water, causing the person to be unable to breathe properly and feel extreme pain in their throat.

Popular Youtube celebrity GloZell attempted the Cinnamon Challenge with a ladle full of cinnamon, which is extremely dangerous.

Although the extreme pain is enough to make someone to never do the challenge again, there are more risks that people should be aware of.

Since cinnamon is made from tree bark, the spice is harder to get out of your lungs than others.

In fact, only doing the challenge once can trigger asthma attacks, causing the narrowing of one’s bronchioles, making it harder to breathe and causing uncontrollable spasms.

Celebrities have also been the cause of these dangerous challenges.

In the spring of 2015, teens broke the internet with the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, where one would take a shot glass or other small container, put their lips in it and suck for around ten minutes.

Then, one would pull the shot glass off to have plump lips like the reality television star.

This teen partook in the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge and ended up with bruising below her mouth.

The plumpness of one’s lips were only meant to last for a few minutes, but teens who participated in the craze quickly realized that that was not always the case.

Sucking too hard could potentially cause the shot glass to break, causing cuts around the mouth so deep they could require stitches.

The challenge can cause significant pain and bruising around the mouth, as well as putting the person doing the challenge at risk for permanent scarring and disfigurement.  

So, while the videos can be funny to watch, one should be aware of the consequences before jumping into a challenge simply to get laughs.