Monkey see, monkey do. The same goes for internet challenges. Although frequently labeled as teen phenomena, dangerous internet challenges know no age. From driving blindfolded to eating a Tide Pod, you might be tempted to ask the simple question: why? Whether it be for instant viral fame or proof of strength, there is no concrete answer as to why people choose to participate.
Regardless, it’s become a formula. The trend picks up speed and before you know it, everyone and their mother is posting internet challenges. You start seeing clips in the news or on social media of your favorite YouTuber inhaling cinnamon, while a news anchor warns you of the dangers of doing so. Here’s the internet challenge hall of fame, from relatively harmless to possibly deadly.
1. Mannequin Challenge
During fall 2016, the mannequin challenge took the internet by storm. The challenge involves filming groups of people standing frozen, like statues, while Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beetles” plays in the background.
Created by students at Edward H. White High School in Florida, the mannequin challenge was performed and uploaded to social media by high school drama clubs, late-night television hosts, professional sports teams and even Hilary Clinton.
Dangers: Once you watch a few mannequin challenges, you’ll never be able to listen to “Black Beetles” the same.
Arguably one of the least dangerous internet challenges, cone-ing was a short-lived trend that was most notable during summer 2011. Essentially, cone-ing requires you to order an ice cream cone at a drive-thru window. When the car pulls up to the window and it’s time to receive the cone, you grab it by the ice cream, rather than, you know, the actual cone part that you’ve been socialized to grab.
That’s it. Of course, you’re left with a mess in front of you and a bewildered McDonald’s worker to your left, but there’s really no way to walk (or drive) away from this challenge with serious injury.
Dangers: A messy steering wheel?
3. Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge
Following the reveal of Kylie Jenner’s lip fillers in 2015, this dangerous challenge became popular among young girls as a way to either make fun of the star or emulate her. That’s up to you to decide.
The challenge involves placing a glass cup over your lips and holding it for as long as you can. When you can’t take it anymore, remove the glass and congrats! You’ve got pouty Jenner lips and likely a nasty new bruise!
Dangers: If the lip inflammation, bruising and cold sores aren’t enough to scare you, you also run the risk of the glass breaking and cutting your face.
4. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Although its initial origins are unclear, the internet challenge is most often traced to former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS, or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” in 2012.
While the challenge, consisting of dumping a bucket of ice water on your head and then challenging three of your friends to do the same, was successful in raising awareness and funds for ALS, there were some hidden dangers that managed to fly under the radar.
Dangers: While your first thought might be hypothermia, surprisingly, there were actually a few instances of drowning amongst those who opted to fully submerge themselves in ice water.
5. Chubby Bunny Challenge
A timeless challenge popular with children, Chubby Bunny can actually be traced back to a Peanuts cartoon from 1959, although it’s unclear when the challenge was actually popularized among the public.
The challenge consists of filling your mouth with marshmallows one by one, saying “chubby bunny” after each one.
Danger: There have been a few deaths by suffocation linked with the challenge, including a 12-year-old girl at school and a 32-year-old woman at a state fair.
6. Cinnamon Challenge
The cinnamon challenge was the first challenge that I saw people I actually knew participate in. The harmful challenge began to pick up speed in 2012 after YouTuber GloZell published her ridiculous viral attempt at the phenomenon.
While the prospect of ingesting an entire spoonful of cinnamon doesn’t seem to be an issue (it is edible), there are several reasons why experts advise you not to take part in the challenge.
Danger: Challengers risk inflammation, collapsed lung, pneumonia and other harmful effects.
7. Bird Box Challenge
Released on Netflix in December 2018, the thriller “Bird Box,” starring Sandra Bullock, gained instant popularity. The film features characters who must blindfold themselves in order to avoid a supernatural entity. Naturally, content creators saw an opportunity to capitalize on the popularity by uploading their versions of the “Bird Box Challenge.”
The challenge requires you to attempt everyday tasks while wearing a blindfold. When done responsibly, the challenge is relatively harmless, but be honest with yourself: society doesn’t have the best track record of being responsible when it comes to the chance of viral fame.
Danger: A teenager from Utah drove into oncoming traffic while he was blindfolded, attempting to complete the challenge. This tragedy, among others, prompted Netflix to issue a warning concerning the dangers of the challenge.
8. Tide Pod Challenge
I’ll be honest. I have never heard of anyone intentionally consuming a Tide Pod, but, nonetheless, it is the dangerous internet challenge. Following a meme labeling Tide Pods as “the forbidden fruit,” dedicated memers went so far as to taste this so-called fruit.
Danger: I don’t need to tell you why eating laundry detergent is dangerous.
With that being said, if you still want to be internet famous, you should probably avoid these internet challenges, play it safe and just upload a cover to Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” or something.