Internet challenges are one of the quickest ways to become famous … and dead.
So many of these trends are extremely dangerous and can lead to bodily harm of the self and others.
There were many internet challenges I could have chosen to complete this list, but the following stunts caused either the highest number of or the most serious injuries.
1. The “In My Feelings”/Kiki Challenge
Jumping out of a moving car, regardless of speed, is only acceptable if you are the star of an action movie. Given that most of the general public are not professional stuntmen, the premise of the “In My Feelings”/Kiki challenge could only end in disaster.
I should not have to explain what makes the new viral trend so dangerous. The challenge involves a heavy motor vehicle with a distracted or even an absent driver, depending on how daring (read: stupid) the participants decided to be. Not only does this decision put the safety of the dancers at risk, but also anyone else who happens to be on the road.
Luckily for 22-year-old Jaylen Norwood, the other driver was his best friend and only drove 15 mph. Even though things didn’t go as planned (Norwood was knocked down by the vehicle just as he slipped on a wet spot), the result was only a few scraped elbows and a bruised ego.
Unfortunately, 18-year-old Anna Worden did not escape the clutches of Kiki unscathed. As she jumped out of the car, Worden tripped and fell and hit her head, causing her skull to fracture, bleeding in her brain and blood clots in her ear.
Thankfully, Worden is conscious and able to speak, but now she must relearn how to walk, all because of a reckless challenge that even celebrities are endorsing.
2. The Fire Challenge
Even cavemen learned to understand that you should not play with fire, so why are people in the 21st century still ending up in the hospital because they purposely set themselves aflame?
You heard me. The objective of the fire challenge is to apply flammable liquids to your body and then set yourself on fire. Whether the purpose is to test pain endurance or just to impress some friends, people tend to record the action and post it to social media.
The first known video of this outrageously dangerous internet challenge was uploaded in 2012, but a handful of fools attempt the stunt every once in a while.
In 2014, 16-year-old Fernando Valencia doused himself in nail polish remover and flicked a lighter, subsequently giving himself second- and third-degree burns on his neck and waist.
After recovering in the hospital, Valencia posted a video on YouTube describing the incident and the excruciating pain. He also warns people not to take part in the Fire Challenge as he reveals his scars (Warning: kinda graphic).
Not every participant tries the challenge just to gain internet fame. Some unlucky few burn themselves alive simply because they are curious and do not know any better.
On Aug. 17, 12-year-old Timiyah Landers suffered severe burns sustained on 49 percent of her body when her friends convinced her to attempt the fire challenge after seeing videos on the internet.
Timiyah’s mother, Brandi Owens, says that instead of starting seventh grade with her peers, her daughter will need ventilators, feeding tubes and surgeries for at least the next few months.
Owens hopes that websites like YouTube will crack down on videos related to these dangerous internet challenges so that no child or parent ever has to endure what her family is going through.
3. The Choking Game/The Pass-Out Challenge/Space Monkey Challenge
This challenge goes by many names, but the goal is always to intentionally cut off oxygen to the brain long enough to obtain a brief moment of euphoria and sometimes loss of consciousness.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accumulated enough evidence to claim that between 1995 and 2008, at least 82 youths, with the average age being 13, have died in the United States as a result of the game.
Since 2008, there have been numerous deaths caused by this risky method of getting high, including 16-year-old Jack Servi, 12-year-old Tua Muai and 12-year-old Erik Robinson, whose mother consequently founded Erik’s Cause, “a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to spreading awareness about the dangers of pass-out activities.”
Go play a sport, ride a rollercoaster, have a good laugh: there are so many other, safer ways to get high naturally than these internet challenges.
4. The Cinnamon Challenge
I know cinnamon is delicious, but is swallowing a spoonful of the spice really worth potentially giving yourself emphysema?
In 2012, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received 222 calls related to the Cinnamon Challenge, which left kids with throat irritation, respiratory issues and even collapsed lungs.
Sixteen-year-old Dejah Reed was one of many teenagers who were hospitalized for a collapsed lung after trying the cinnamon challenge. She must also now use an inhaler to control asthma she never had before the incident.
Even though 4-year-old Matthew Radar was not participating in the cinnamon challenge, his mother, Brianna, says that Matthew’s accidental asphyxiation and death after inhaling cinnamon powder can be used as a cautionary tale to deter kids from attempting the internet trend.
5. Salt and Ice Challenge
You kids and your obsession with burning yourselves.
This insidious internet challenge has tricked many young people into damaging and scarring parts of their bodies because it sounds so easy: You put salt on your skin, then place ice on top of it and try to see how long you can withstand the cold.
But according to Dr. Marc Jeschke, director of the Ross Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, “If you overcome the original feeling of pain, that’s not because you’re tougher or stronger, it’s because the nerve endings have been destroyed. Sometimes, that nerve destruction can be permanent, along with scarring on the skin.”
Just google “salt and ice challenge,” and you will be met with hundreds of gruesome and disgusting aftermaths. Or don’t, and spare yourself the trauma.
If you haven’t already figured out the lesson behind these internet challenges: Don’t be an idiot.