In today’s society just about anything will get teenagers’ attention. Everyone is connected through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat. People become entertained by what is posted by other people they may or may not know, which includes social media challenges. Research has shown that social media challenges among teenagers has correlated with the increase in bodily harm or death from wanting attention.
Social media challenges began in 2015 with challenges that raised awareness for diseases. For example, the ASL challenge or also known as the ice bucket challenge was done to raise awareness for the disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This challenge was to dump a bucket of ice cold water over your head and then challenge someone else to do it and if they didn’t do it within a certain time frame they would have to donate money to the foundation. Another example of a challenge was called the Lemon Face challenge and it raised awareness for diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, which is a form of cancer in the brainstem. The challenge was to eat wedges of lemons and post the best sour face they had online and donated towards the cause. After these challenges spread like wildfire throughout the internet people were becoming interested in making their own challenges but ones that didn’t raise awareness. Instead they were making ones that caused harm to themselves just to see what attention they could get. As time went on, more and more harmful challenges were being posted and causing concern.
It affected people’s physical and mental well-being. There are a ton of challenges that are out there; some of them may not be as popular as others or as dangers as others. The Spoonful of Cinnamon challenge was to take a spoon and fill it with cinnamon and try to eat it in a minute without drinking anything. People view this challenge as being funny and entertaining because young minds do not think ahead of consequences that come from bad choices they make. The challenge is basically impossible to accomplish and very harmful because it causes choking, aspiration, pulmonary damage, and sometimes hospitalization. “The Cinnamon Challenge is a behavioral phenomenon, a popular dare fueled by peer pressure that, along with competition, often instigates risk-taking behaviors among adolescents.
In fact, the large internet presence and peer pressure are what have increased the popularity of the Cinnamon Challenge.” (Lipshultz). Another dangerous challenge is the Condom Challenge. It involves filling a condom up with water, dropping it over someone’s head and then it wraps around their face.
It causes people to suffocate if it does not brake in time. In addition, the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge is a challenge where you take a bottle and put the top around your mouth and suck in until your lip are fat. People called Kylie Jenner’s lips big and wanted to mimic her in a terrible way. The teenagers that were attempting this challenge never thought about the consequences that arose from it. Swollen lips, bruising, pain, scarring and even disfigurement were consequences of the challenge. The Salt and Ice Challenge is another example of a dangerous challenge.
It involves putting salt and water on the skin and then placing a piece of ice on top for as long as possible. The people would take a video while attempting this challenge and then post it to social media showing their results. All the results of this challenge were burns from mild to serve and hospital trips. Derek Bell and Lauren Roussel from the University of Rochester Medical Center stated, “We conducted a retrospective analysis of intentional freezing burns from 2012 to 2014. Demographics, depth and location of burn, total body surface area of burn, treatment, time to wound heal, length of stay, complications, and motives behind participation were analyzed.” The results were five patients ended up in the hospital for freezing burns due to the challenge, it would take fourteen days for the wound to heal and within twenty-four hours after doing the challenge the patients were evaluated. The Fire Challenge involves pouring rubbing alcohol on the skin and lighting it on fire, then putting it out with water while filming the entire thing.
This challenges sent many people who attempted this to this hospital with severe burns. According to a president and CEO of the National Safety Council, Deborah A.P. Hersman told the TIME that it’s crucial to steer kids away from these challenges.
She also stated “It is terrifying that our children are permanently injuring themselves for the sake of followers,” Hersman said. “Social media challenges create instant, but hollow connections. Real friends keep each other safe”(Ducharme).The Tide Pod Challenge involves people to eat tide pods and eating these can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress, respiratory arrest, damages the airway and burns the throats. They are extremely toxic because it has ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, long-chain polymers, and it can be fatal if the detergent gets into the bloodstream and organs. The American Association of Poison Control Center put together data from reports that they got from children attempting this terrible challenge. The Poison Control Center came to find out that “Thirty-nine reports of teenagers intentionally misusing laundry pods came in during the first 15 days of 2018 alone”(Ducharme). The Passing Out Challenge is where children choke each other, hyperventilate, or press on each others chest until someone passes out which could result in death.
The Eraser Challenge is to see how long an eraser can be rubbed on the skin. It cause burns from mild to severe depending on how long the eraser is rubbed on the skin. A doctor, Michael Cooper who works in New York City as a director at the Staten Island University Hospital in the Burn Center stated “The eraser challenge may cause pain, burns to the skin, scarring, local infections”(Mundell). The Chubby Bunny Challenge is when you put as many marshmallows as you can fit in your mouth.
If too many are fit into the mouth where it is impossible to talk it can cause choking if a marshmallow accidentally falls down the throat. Every time someone puts a marshmallow into their mouths they are suppose to say I am chubby bunny. When doing this challenge it makes people laugh and with a mouth full of marshmallows and laughing it can cause them to choke too. From personal experiences this challenge also causes gagging and hurts the mouth because of how big the mouth is opened from stuffing multiple marshmallows in it. However many factors play a role in the way children think and behave. Social media influences children to try risky thinks and to post themselves to brag about what they did.
Children are doing these challenges without the fear of consequences because they are afraid that if they don’t attempt these challenges that they will miss out on something big, their brains are still developing, peer pressure, and attention are big factors that play a role in the way they behave. “Research has found that during teenage development there is an initial expansion of grey matter in the brain, which means neural pathways are plentiful and open to anything that could get feel-good hormones going”(Firger). Children don’t realize the consequences until they ended up really hurt, at the moment they just saw how many likes and comments someone got from doing a challenge and wanted to be just like them.