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The Dangers of Internet Challenges

Teenagers are actually eating Tide Pods, for real.

If you haven’t been living under a rock lately, you’ll know that people have been tweeting about laundry detergent—but specifically about eating Tide Pods. There are many variations of the meme, from editing them onto Hot Pocket boxes to making a viral tweet showing photos of a pizza before and after that was topped with the pods.

The meme spread around the internet as a harmless joke since the detergent packs resemble yogurt, but over time it has turned into something dangerous. There is a new trend surfacing, it’s called the Tide Pod Challenge.

The challenge dares people to actually put the detergent pods in their mouths, mind you the pods have many dangerous chemicals such as ethanol and hydrogen peroxide. When ingested, they can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea, and eventually lead to death by filling the lungs with fluid.

When first reading about this, I assumed it was yet another joke the internet created until I saw a video on my Twitter timeline of a girl biting into a Tide Pod and then spitting it out. That was the only beginning of a new craze. Various YouTube news channels have posted clips of teens completing challenge as a warning to viewers. This has become such a big deal that it became a Twitter Moment, the Today Show and the verified US Consumer Product Safety Commision tweeted about the dangers of eating the pods.

Memes and internet challenges are supposed to be lighthearted and things we can laugh at for a few moments, but in some cases, they can end horribly, or even with death. This was seen with the Cinnamon Challenge after a 4-year-old died from asphyxiation, and multiple injuries occurring after people participated in the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge.

In the end, all of these trends will eventually be replaced by new ones, and these memes will die. But what we should learn is that just because something is trending on Twitter, doesn’t mean you should partake in it. Whether it is innocently swallowing a teaspoon of cinnamon with your friends to swallowing Tide Pods and accepting the fate that comes with it, none of it is worth your life, or anyone else’s.

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Written by Daryl Perry

Daryl is a 16 year old intersectional feminist and Instagram enthusiast who dreams of becoming a film director. In her spare time she sings, dances, and of course writes!