The internet is booming with information and the rise of social media sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, networking from around the world can be a great thing. But with the good comes the bad and sometimes, there are things that come across our screens that just aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Here is our list of the 7 most dangerous and simply stupid internet challenges you might want to avoid.
1. Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge
One of the more recent challenges that made its way to social media was the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, named for the pouty lipped 17-year-old celeb-utant and half-sister to the infamous Kardashians. Jenner claims that her lips are au naturel (lol!), while plastic surgeons (you know, the medical professionals) agree that her pout is likely the result of cosmetic fillers. Either way, teens are going crazy trying to emulate the teen’s notorious pout. The premise to this DIY lip plumping fest is that a person sucks on a plastic bottle or, more commonly, a shot glass, creating a vacuum seal that plumps their lips. The problem is that the friction created by the airlock on your lips can cause trauma to the skin, swelling, pain, and deep bruising, and in more extreme cases, broken blood vessels, split lips, scarring, and permanent disfiguring. In some instances, the pressure created by the shot glasses can actually cause the glass to shatter, shredding the lips of the person attempting it. Safe to say, this is one of those challenges everyone should pass on.
2. Cinnamon Challenge
The Cinnamon Challenge has been around for well over a decade, but this particular challenge saw a huge rise in popularity after 2010 thanks to social media sites like Twitter and, more notably, YouTube. The idea behind the challenge is to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in under 60 seconds with no water. The reason this is so dangerous is because cinnamon is a spice made of tree bark and is caustic in nature and the cellulose fibers of the spice don’t break down easily. Short term pursuers of the challenge can and often will experience choking, throat irritation, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, aspiration into the lungs, burning of the airways, respiratory distress or even failure… Some of these happen almost immediately! Long-term side effects can include permanent lung damage or scarring (also known as pulmonary fibrosis) and one challenge taker suffered a collapsed lung.
3. Fire Challenge
Remember the old adage, “Play with fire and you’ll get burned”? Well apparently a lot of people have never heard it, as playing with fire is the whole point of this completely insane challenge. The premise behind the Fire Challenge is to spray a small amount of a flammable liquid (like alcohol, nail polish remover, or perfume) on an area of the body and then light it on fire for a few moments. Yes, you read that correctly, people are lighting themselves on fire for fun. Needless to say, more than one accident has happened when too much liquid spreads or the flames aren’t extinguished quickly enough and while thankfully no one has died (the reported death of a 15-year-old was found to be a hoax), we are hoping that this challenge goes away as fast as it came.
Planking, also known as the lying down game, saw its rise in popularity in the latter part of the 2000s thanks in large part to social media. The object of planking is to mimic a wooden board and lie face down with your hands held firmly against your sides, snap a photo of yourself doing so, and post it online for internet giggles. While most people find planking to be meaningless in itself and not as obviously dangerous as other challenges, people participating often try to up the ante, looking for riskier, more obscure, or more extreme places to plank and in doing so, risk injury or even death. Such was the case with Acton Beale, when the 20-year-old plunged to his death after reportedly attempting to plank on a seventh-floor balcony in May of 2011.
5. Knockout Challenge
Also known as the knockout game, this isn’t really a challenge so much as it is something that seemingly sprang up out of nowhere and took off on social media. The idea behind it is to punch a completely unsuspecting person and knock them out with one hit. This is the most despicable and cowardly of the challenges (Really? A sucker punch to a complete stranger? Really?). It is one that has been linked to multiple assault cases and possibly more than one death. With so many cases springing up all across the country, police forces are cracking down hard on attackers, many of them teens. Let’s hope that the serious charges they face, ranging from assault to a hate crime, sees the END of this idiotic game.
6. Salt and Ice Challenge
Another YouTube phenomenon, the Salt and Ice Challenge requires participants to wet their skin, pour salt on it, and apply an ice cube to the area. This creates a "burning" sensation, and participants attempt to withstand the pain for as long as they can. Last to tap out wins. Sounds harmless enough, right? Wrong! The reason this is so dangerous is because the salt causes the ice to melt and in the process absorbs heat from the environment around it, including heat from a participant's skin. The skin’s temperature also drops, far more than it would with just the ice alone, quickly giving participants second and even third-degree burns similar to what you get with frostbite. Since the cold of the ice also causes a numbing sensation after a time (which could very well be irreparable nerve damage), participants are often unaware of the extent of their injuries in their attempts to outdo their fellow participants. Skin discoloration, blisters, burns, and permanent nerve damage or scarring in the name of fun? No thank you! Let’s hope people find a better way to cure their boredom.
Also known as neck and nominate, Neknominate is an online drinking game that originated in the UK. The game requires participants to film themselves drinking a pint of alcohol, usually beer, in a single gulp and upload footage of the deed. Participants then nominate others to do the same, with nominees required to complete the task within 24 hours. Like other challenges on this list, it spread via social media as the parameters of the task escalated, with nominees upping the ante by performing the challenge in more extreme circumstances, performing risky tasks immediately following the drinking stunt, and/or drinking more potent beverages or crazy concoctions. Neknominate has been linked to at least 5 deaths, multiple hospitalizations of participants (many of whom are underage), and in one instance, a ban on owning fish for a participant who swallowed a live goldfish (WTF?!?!?). Let’s hope that the public soon forgets this crazy internet fad.
The internet can be an amazing place, but with dangerous challenges like these, we can only hope that these exit the social media stage as quickly as they came. Know of a dangerous internet challenge that we missed? Comment below!