Chinese video-sharing service TikTok has seen rapid growth in recent months and garnered the attention of mainstream media. Tons of challenges have gone viral, with even celebrities, around the world, jumping on the bandwagon.
But a darker, deadlier side of these unwise trends runs the danger of causing serious bodily harm or property damage. These are obvious dangers that can be sensed by any sensible person but somehow the craze to follow what’s going on in social media is blocking the minds of youngsters. Have a look at these yourself, and stay away from such challenges.
Also referred to as the ‘Penny’ challenge, this trend is quite literally shocking. It involves watching sparks fly by sliding a penny between a power outlet and the exposed prongs of a phone charger. This major fire hazard of a challenge had teenagers yelling “This is lit!” before they blew out half the power in their house or burnt the building down.
In January, pranksters at a Massachusetts school gave it a try, leading police and fire marshals to race to the scene where the stunt went wrong. After leaving charred evidence in their wake, the two students aged 15 and 16 now face various charges and possible punishment from the school.
The Skull Breaker Challenge:
Reportedly having originated in Venezuela as “rompcráneos” or “skull breaker,” this viral craze depicts three friends jumping next to each other, causing the middle person’s feet to be kicked out from underneath him by the other two. This action knocks the individual off-balance, sends them crashing to the ground and potentially causes serious injuries.
The alarming trend has been the reason for several injuries in Miami, New Jersey and Arizona, and also the arrest of two high school teens for misdemeanor and cyberbullying following an incident in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Pass Out Challenge:
The Internet seems to work in strange ways, where harmful trends go viral instead of being shut down. In this bizarre challenge, teens are seen swaying their heads from side-to-side before passing out.
The repeated movement mimics suffocation, starving the brain of oxygen and causing the person to lose consciousness. According to experts, risks associated with the challenge include fainting, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Dubbed “the dance challenge of the summer”, the Kiki challenge craze began when internet comedian Shiggy posted a video of himself dancing to Drake’s hit song “In My Feelings”. Since his video went viral, thousands of people including celebrities like Will Smith, Ciara and J-hope have taken up the challenge.
This challenge involves jumping out of a car and dancing to the song as the car continues moving and the driver films the video. And with so many people around the world doing it, it was inevitable that some people got hurt.
In some videos, oblivious dancers are seen tripping on potholes, crashing into poles or falling out of the car. In one case a woman had her handbag stolen while attempting the challenge, and in another a man was hit by a car while he danced.
Police from around the world, including in countries like India, Spain, the US, Malaysia and the UAE, warned people against attempting the dance challenge and stated that those caught trying it could face criminal charges. Mumbai police tweeted a video of a man crashing into a street post and wrote, “Desist from public nuisance or face the music!”
Anna Worden, an 18-year-old from Bettendorf, Iowa was critically injured when she tripped and hit her head as she attempted the challenge. She had to be placed in the Intensive Care Unit due to a fracture in her skull, blood clots in her ears and bleeding in her brain.
Worden — a dancer since a young age, who has to now re-learn to walk — warned others about the risks involved with social media challenges. “They may seem fun and may seem easy, but at the same time, they could be so dangerous,” she said.
Cereal Bowl Challenge:
This trend is as dangerous as it is nasty. Videos tagged under #CerealBowlChallenge depict an individual pouring milk and cereal into the mouth of a person lying down, and then eating breakfast from this ‘human bowl’. As one might expect, things get super messy and disgusting, and it is also a major choking hazard for the voluntary vessel.
One user shared a traumatizing video of a large dog eating cereal out of a young man’s mouth. Celebrities like Ronnie Banks and Bretman Rock also attempted the stomach-churning challenge, but instantly spit out the mixture.
A 22-year-old influencer Ava Louise, who has already made it to Dr. Phil twice for her attention-seeking and problematic behavior, recently uploaded a nasty clip of herself licking a toilet seat cover of an airplane bathroom.
She was met with heavy criticism and hostility over her 6-second video, the caption of which read: “Please retweet this so people can know how to properly be sanitary on the airplane.” The app took the post down, but it was too late. Hundreds of users had downloaded it, and few actually attempted the disgusting “Coronavirus Challenge”.
All Ava wanted was her 6-seconds of fame, and she definitely got it. She even made money off the publicity she got over the challenge! She later revealed that she had actually sanitized the toilet seat for 40 minutes before licking it.
But her vile and insensitive actions had drastic consequences, as social media influencer Larz claimed he had been infected with the virus days after posting a video of himself attempting the challenge.
The 21-year-old tweeted “I tested positive for Coronavirus” and then uploaded a selfie taken in a hospital bed, but some followers are questioning the credibility of his claim. Whatever the case may be, it is disheartening to see that social media stars seem to think it not only perfectly okay to make light of a virus that has claimed thousands of lives worldwide but also actively urging others to recreate this risky challenge.
We hope you stay away from such challenges doing rounds in various social media. Stay aware, stay Safe!