The Bad:

While social media trends generally attempt to entertain audiences, the extent to which they go sometimes goes overboard, and can be dangerous and even illegal in some cases. These challenges involve the participant engaging in dangerous activities that could result in hospitalization, arrest or even death. 

Some popular, dangerous challenges were: 

  • The Coronavirus Challenge– this challenge began in March of 2020, right when the COVID-19 pandemic started (hence the name). This involved the participant straight-up licking a toilet bowl, the purpose being to see if one could catch the virus as a result of engaging in such an unsanitary activity. It finally died out due to the amount of backlash it received.
  • The Blue Whale challenge: Dubbed the ‘Suicide Challenge’, this particular challenge that started in 2019 was notorious for the amount of lives it took. The challenge was actually an online game that allegedly involved participants partaking in a list of 50 tasks, each getting increasingly deadly as the list goes on. Because of this, it nearly became a global crisis, affecting teenagers in the US, UK, and Russia, where it originated. After facing scrutiny from the global media, the game was taken down. 
  • Dry Scooping challenge: This challenge has been gaining popularity in recent months, and involves the participant scooping large amounts of protein or pre-workout powders without taking it with water. This raises health concerns, as pre-workouts contain high concentrations of both protein and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to the body if taken in high amounts. One woman suffered a heart attack as a result of this. 

However, the dangerous challenges don’t stop there. Recently, another dangerous (and borderline illegal) challenge has risen to the top: the Devious Lick challenge. This is, unarguably, the most notorious challenge as of recently. Put in simple words, this online challenge straight-up encourages vandalism, theft and destruction of property. In fact, many schools and staff are discouraging this trend. Schools in Central Texas, such as Leander Middle School and Vandegrift High School, are even closing their bathrooms during passing periods to prevent this issue. Trends such as Devious Licks seem to be encouraging risky behavior in students that could lead to criminal charges in some cases as well. 

While some online trends do promote positivity, these recent trends that have been coming out are causing major problems for students, as well as parents and teachers. That being said, serious consideration should be given to what kinds of trends students choose to follow, and to what extent they will follow those trends. Because some trends are actually more harmful than they seem to be.