Ever since social media has become prevalent in everybody’s lives, there have been social media challenges. This is where somebody tries something, then challenges or dares people on their social media platforms to do the challenge, as well. The confusing part about the entire thing is people are being dared to do challenges that are sometimes dangerous by complete strangers, and then doing the challenges — just baffles the mind.
The social media train has gained momentum since COVID has forced many businesses to close, or limit the number of customers allowed in, and since people have been forced to stay home more than normal. This extra time on social media typically leads to boredom, and boredom is typically the main component for somebody trying a social media challenge.
One of the challenges is the Outlet Challenge. The challenger must plug in an electrical device, then sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed part of the plug. The neat part of the challenge is doing this creates sparks. The dangerous part ofit; it can also cause a fire.
Kingston Fire Chief James Kuykendall said this challenge is just adding fuel to an awaiting fire because pennies have a copper coating.
“Copper conducts electricity,” Kuykendall said. “Most electric wire is copper. Dropping it on an exposed plug causes an arcing across a neutral and a hot wire.”
The participant should not be able to hold the penny in place long, because it should shock them. However, all that is needed to start a fire is a few moments, Kuykendall said.
“The penny heats up, then catches the surrounding material on fire and travels up the wall.”
Before the participant has a chance to drop penny, it has possibly caught the entire house on fire.
Another “hot” challenge is the Fire Challenge. For this challenge, the participant pours a flammable liquid, typically rubbing alcohol, then setting it on fire. The goal ofthe video is to start the fire, get it on video, then extinguishing the fire. The downfall is not only does the fire burn the skin, it also can jump to clothing. Once it jumps to a flammable piece of clothing, it is more difficult to extinguish.
One of the challenges floating around on social media takes patience and determination to do damage; the Salt and Ice Challenge. This challenge involves participants placing salt on their skin, then holding a piece of ice to the area. Then, they record to see how long they are able to leave the ice on the salt. This challenge has led to second and thirddegree burns, and in extreme cases, some needed skin grafts to repair the damage.
The most infamous challenge was the Tide Pod challenge. This challenge was not only dangerous, but in some cases, deadly. Participants challenged each other to eat a product called “Tide Pods,” and post the video on social media. The bad side of this challenge is that the detergent is riddled with chemicals that are geared toward cleaning dirt and grime off of clothes. There is nothing edible in it. Ironically, in 2015, Tide added Denatonium Benzoate to the formula. This is a bittering agent to deter young children from eating and swallowing it. It worked for the young children, now, teenagers are eating it.
The most recent dangerous challenge is the Benadryl challenge. This challenge has participants taking a bunch of Benadryl tablets to the point of hallucinating. This challenge also turned deadly when a 15-year-old from Oklahoma City died from an overdose of the drug in August 2020.
One challenge is not new, it is from the 80s. It is just that it disappears, then rears its ugly head every few years. The Pass-Out Challenge, or the Choking Game. This is when the participant cuts off oxygen until they pass out. The goal is reaching the feeling of euphoria, but typically the participant just loses consciousness.
With social media interaction on the rise and actual social interaction on the decline, it is important for parents to stay on top of the dangerous social media challenges. It is possible to focus on the good social media challenges like “The Git Up” dance challenge and the Tip Challenge, where people tip their servers more than usual, and leave the dangerous ones in the past.