8 of the stupidest 'challenges' ever attempted on the internet
If the internet was a person, it would be the guy whose catchphrase was "hold my beer" - someone with a short memory, too much bravery, a very short life expectancy and who is unable to resist a challenge. Yes, it seems like as long as you call something a "challenge" earnestly enough, you can convince hapless bloggers to mud wrestle their own grandmothers, with no thought of the consequences. You might think I'm exaggerating, but dozens of people have been hospitalised or seriously injured as a result of their idiotic attempts to replicate some flash-in-the-pan trending fad.
Recently, YouTube has even been forced to clamp down on "Tide Pod challenge" videos, after warnings from health officials that the dangerous stunt could lead to a health crisis. It's perhaps the first time that YouTube has moved to stop a viral challenge from spreading, but it's hardly the first time that people have hurt themselves. In case you've forgotten them, here's our comprehensive rundown of some of the stupidest challenges ever attempted.
1. The Tide Pod Challenge
Number one on the list is also the most recent: the Tide Pod challenge. Yes, it seems as though people really are eating plastic packets of laundry detergent to validate their online street cred, which is obviously a really, really bad idea, since the detergent contains a significant amount of bleach and other harmful chemicals. This craze has been deemed responsible for a high number of poisonings in the United States in the first quarter of 2018. Since January 1, a number of people rang the American Association of Poison Control Centres (AAPCC) to report they had poisoned themselves with Tide pods. The manufacturer has warned that pods: "should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke. Laundry pacs are made to clean clothes. Like all household cleaning products, they must be used properly and stored safely."
2. The Cinnamon Challenge
The Cinnamon Challenge is one of the best-known examples, and also seems so innocuous. I mean, come on: cinnamon doesn't sound as if it would be hazardous, right? But then, after being offered a spoonful of the same spice that makes pastries so sweet, most folks turn into a red-eyed coughing mess, struggling not to vomit over themselves. The Cinnamon Challenge is also one of the oldest online challenges: the first example of the fad dates back to 2001, when it was played by Erik Goodladon on a site hosted by Michael Buffington. It saw a massive resurgence in late 2011 when Anna Diaz attempted it on her YouTube channel. Man, you'd think people would know better by now, right?
3. The Gallon Challenge
The Gallon Challenge is pretty simple: the person attempting it is forced to drink a whole gallon of milk in one sitting. That's around four litres worth, in case your wondering, and yes, it's pretty inadvisable. The practice of chugging milk was first attempted by Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass gang back in 1999 and it has become more and more popular among high school and college students ever since. It's also incredibly difficult (but not outright impossible) to pull off, since the stomach can generally hold only half a gallon, and exceeding this capacity often triggers the gag reflex. How's that for lactose intolerance?
4. The Fire Challenge
Just when you thought the human race couldn't get any more suicidally stupid, a trend like the Fire Challenge comes along and ends up chlorinating the gene pool some more. The Fire Challenge asks participants to douse themselves in lighter fluid and immolate themselves ... that's it. There's no trick to it, it's literally just a way to make people set themselves on fire. I wish I were joking. There have since been numerous videos of people doing this challenge and sustaining serious burns. Kids: don't pour nail polish remover on your chest and then set it alight. Just don't.
5. The Corn Drill Challenge
You know what's a difficult food to eat? Corn on the cob. It's slippery, hard to bite into and those little kernels always end up getting stuck in between your teeth. You know what makes it even harder? Attaching it to the end of a power drill and spinning it around. Yeah: that's never going to end well. The first iteration of this challenge appears to have been uploaded by Vinnie Mac in 2o12, and rather than go "that looks like a good way to send yourself to A&E" many others were inspired to attempt the same moronic feat.
6. The Eraser Challenge
You wouldn't think that a pencil eraser could hurt, right? Well, this challenge will make you think again. The Eraser Challenge is a dare where the participant is forced to rub an eraser against their skin whilst reciting the English alphabet, and as it turns out, it really hurts after a while. The first Eraser Challenge video was uploaded to YouTube on March 25, 2012, by YouTuber, Rose Samples, and since then hundreds of other people have ended up pointlessly hurting themselves with everyday stationary.
7. The Cold Water Challenge
Now, I personally had no issue with the Ice Bucket Challenge: it was designed to raise awareness of ALS and you only had to get wet for a few moments. The Cold Water Challenge on the other hand, has no purpose whatsoever and bears a serious risk of hypothermia. The Cold Water Challenge asks people to jump naked (or near-naked) into a large pool of cold water during winter time, post the recorded video footage online and nominate other people. Seriously, if one of my friends genuinely nominated me to take a dip in a pond that was the same temperature as a penguins ass then I guarantee that we wouldn't be friends for much longer.
8. The Condom Challenge
Some challenges are dumb, others are dangerous, and some are disgusting. But some very special examples are all three. The Condom Challenge certainly is. How could snorting a condom up through one nostril and pulling it out the other not be? The gross trick first gained popularity back in 2013 and since has managed to disgust millions of viewers. It's frankly a miracle that no-one has managed to get the contraceptives stuck inside their sinuses.
But hey, not all internet challenges are bad news. In fact, most of them are just harmless fun. My advice is to avoid anything that involves fire, power drills, or freezing cold water. But if you're a die-hard Star Wars fan then you might want to do yourself a favour and check out two new memes spawned by the release of The Last Jedi: the Kylo Ren challenge and the Princess Leia challenge.