Kids love a challenge…and if it's a bit risky, well then, it’s even more attractive. It’s part of being a teenager to look for new experiences and to challenge yourself against your peers. We’ve done it, it’s just when we were doing it there was no one taking videos to upload to Youtube.
Do you remember playing the now banned Red Rover and Bullrush games? It was the best feeling to win (not that I would know – I never once won).
What about the hold your breath underwater challenge. Many a summer was spent seeing who could hold their breath the longest and be the ultimate winner.
Or if your fancy friends had an automatic garage door you could play a game where you race to get under the door before it closed, and you would slowly increase the distance you had to run from the door to race to get under it before it closed….ah good times.
The difference now is that these challenges that our teens are doing with their friends are widely publicised, thanks to the internet and our media who love to scaremonger these “shocking trends” or “dangerous new trends” making them out to be bigger than they are. And, it easier than ever before to see what the teens on the other side of town are doing and then compete with them too.
Here are the top ones doing the rounds of the internet: some have been around for ever, some are extremely popular, and some are just dangerous.
Kiki – The current viral sensation that is videoing yourself dancing alongside a slow moving car to Drakes song In My Feelings. On Instagram alone, there are more than 288,000 videos tagged #kikichallenge
Momo – Also very current, the challenge is to txt to a What’s App number and then follow the instructions you’re sent. Instructions are frequently self harm and sometimes even to take their own lives.
Hot Water – This is the most recent one I’ve been alerted to and it's a competition to see who can endure the pain of having hot water thrown at them, throwing it over themselves, or how much boiling water they can drink up through a straw. The ramifications are obvious.
Ghost Pepper – eat a ghost pepper, or any hot chilli pepper, record it and watch the results of the person eating an entire chilli. Vomiting or an upset tummy is a typical side effect.
Chubby Bunny – You start with one marshmallow in your mouth and you say Chubby Bunny, you keep doing this until you can no longer fit any more marshmallows in your mouth and say chubby bunny. Choking hazard.
Say Hell – you secretly film an adult in your life and ask them if Hell is a curse word. The child will use the word themselves a lot in the questions to get a rise out of the adult.
Salt and Ice – A simple challenge where you put salt on your body, typically your arm and then see how long you can hold an ice cube on it. The combination of the ice and salt causes the ice to drop to a temp of approx. -30, which can result in a burn/scar or nerve damage.
Banana and Sprite – It seems harmless enough, eat 2 bananas and then drink a litre of sprite. It turns out these two do not play well together so the winner is the person who doesn’t vomit.
Eat it or Wear it – Fairly self-explanatory, either eat the food served up in the challenge or have it dumped over your head.
Cinnamon Powder – can you eat a teaspoon of cinnamon powder. This is an old school prank. Trying to eat the cinnamon can cause the person to cough, choke and may cause burning eyes.
Rubber/Eraser endurance – Take a rubber and rub it on your arm as hard as you can for as long as you can ie 30 seconds. It’s painful to do and can result in a welt that might scar.
Tide Pod – whilst not as popular now, this was a huge viral challenge where the participants competed to see who could chew a tide pod for the longest. A Tide Pod is a liquid laundry capsule so the side effects were burning of the mouth and throat, eye injuries, vomiting and even death.
Deodorant Spray – Take an aerosol deodorant and hold it as close to your skin, typically on your arm or leg, as possible and then spray for as long as you can handle it. This causes little burns to the skin and participants may have multiple spot marks.
Real Food vs Gummy Food – two people get given a covered plate of food each. One plate will have gummy lollies ie gummy worms the other will have the real thing and they both have to eat their plates of food.
Dog Food vs Real Food – Similar to above, two people with covered plates, one will get edible food the other will get either dry dog food or in some cases wet dog food!
Condom Snorting – Can you snort an unused condom up your nose and pull it out from your mouth? This is the challenge. The risks are chocking, allergic reactions, risk of infection and general disgust form people watching…
Kids today do not have a monopoly on doing dumb stuff, it’s just that kids today are videoed doing it and then its posted online for everyone to see…. forever…..
So, whilst no one saw us careering down a hill in a shopping trolley seeing who could stay in and go the furthest distance, it doesn't mean that previous generations haven’t also done silly risky things when they too were young and looking to prove themselves to their peers.
Our children’s digital footprints are going to matter a whole lot in the future, and this content will be part of it, so speak to your kids about the real risks of some of these challenges and also the impact of these videos being online.
But also, remember what it was like, we all knew that guys at high school who ate dry dog food cos he’d had a beer too many, so have a little compassion….being a teenager in the digital age can also be a bit rough.