The internet can be one interesting place. It's essentially like having the world at your fingertips - you can film and upload a video and within seconds, the entire world can see it.
You're no stranger to odd viral internet challenges that take your phone screen by storm every so often, seeming to increasingly get more and more ridiculous and dangerous with time. Like everything, there's a good side and a bad side to these internet challenges. Let's take a look at some good and bad challenges that you've been graced with at some point or another on your news feed:
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
[Summer 2014] This challenge kicked off with the intention of raising money and awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Schlerosis). It involved filming yourself filling a bucket with ice and water and dumping it on your head. This would be followed by nominating someone else to do the same with the hopes of donating money to the cause. The ALS Society of Canada reported receiving $26 million in donations from this challenge.
[Fall 2016] The mannequin challenge was not necessarily done for a good cause, but more for fun. It involved a group of people freezing like mannequins while one person walked around them filming them in funny frozen scenarios. The video was then edited with a fun soundtrack. This was a fun and harmless challenge!
[Spring 2013] The Harlem shake gained popularity in the spring of 2013 where a group of people would film themselves dancing bizzarrly in costumes or uniforms to the song 'Harlem Shake' by Baauer, which lasted for about 30 seconds. The first 15 seconds would build up and when the music would drop, everyone would start a bizarre, uncoordinated shake. This was another challenge purely done for fun. See YouTube.
[Spring 2014] This challenge aimed to raise awareness and fundraising for cancer. It involved women posting a selfie on their social media accounts without any make-up on. You'd nominate a friend to do the same and so on, with the hopes of every participant donating $5 to cancer research. It wasn't clear what the connection between the selfie and cancer awareness was, but the result of raising money for a good cause was great!
The Cinnamon Challenge
[Spring 2012] Not going to lie, this was a fun challenge to watch but a lot of people seriously harmed themselves by doing it. The objective was to eat a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds. Naturally this was next to impossible because the powder would cause severe coughing, choking, vomitting, risk of pneumonia, and in some cases even a collapsed lung. The consequences seriously outweighed and 'funny' factor in this challenge.
Hot Pepper Challenge
[Spring 2012-Summer 2014] This challenge involved a person filming themselves eating a ghost pepper (one of the hottest peppers out there). The point of the video was to watch the reaction of the person who just ate it. Often, they'd chug a big glass of milk to help tame the heat. Eating the pepper caused profuse sweating, crying, vomitting, breathing problems and in rare cases with younger children, death. You really had no one to blame but yourself if this turned bad.
Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge
[Spring 2015] King Kylie's iconic pout is what lots of teen girls strive to have; big, juicy, full lips. So they took matters into their own hands and invented the Kylie Jenner Lip challenge which involved putting their lips into a shot glass and sucking the air out to create a vacuum. You'd be left with extremely plump lips for about 24 hours. However, this turned bad in a lot of cases leaving people with bruised, bleeding, and even torn lips. Not to mention looking like you just got back from Botox gone bad.
Tide Pod Challenge
[January 2018] Ah, the latest internet craze and probably the dumbest one. Teenagers are challenging their friends to eat a laundry detergent pod. Despite the obvious fact that what you're ingesting is poison that can kill you, they're still doing it... maybe the amount of 'likes' and 'shares' are worth putting your health at risk. Please be aware of what your kids are doing online.
What it comes down to is seeking attention. The good attention is doing fun, safe, and productive challenges. The bad attention is putting yourself at risk without achieving anything good from it. The choice is yours!