For every light-hearted, even meditative, meme practice like planking, there are a few activities gone viral that are just dangerously stupid. Not to mention, painful.
There are actual professionals who partake in parkour, the art of jumping off of existing structures to complete dangerous, but impressive, stunts. But that‚Äôs exactly what parkour is. Stunts. You shouldn‚Äôt do it if you‚Äôre not properly experienced and willing to face the risks. Because jumping from buildings, roof to roof, and scaling structures without a harness is never not going to be risky. People have died doing it, even those who do parkour professionally. So unless your version of parkour involves a skateboard, a low ramp, and a helmet, stay far away.
‚ÄĘ The Salt and Ice Challenge
This one is especially nuts, because the literal goal of the challenge is to burn your skin off. The chemical reaction between table salt and ice lowers the freezing point of water, and soaks up heat from the skin around it, which can cause second- and even third-degree burns if an individual is exposed to the mixture for too long. And that‚Äôs the point of the game ‚ÄĒ who can hold onto the salty ice cubes the longest? Dumb. Dumb! Very dumb!
‚ÄĘ The Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge
Long before Kylie Jenner landed on the cover of Forbes, teenagers made fun of her on the internet for her overdrawn lips and eventual lip injections. It all turned out great for Kylie, who rode the publicity train into Kylie Cosmetics and the Lip Kit brand, but people who sucked on shot glasses, cups, and even vacuum hoses to comically inflate their lips ended up with bruising and painful swelling. At least in Jenna Marbles‚Äô version, she‚Äôs only pretending to pour acid and burn her lips, ‚Äėcause that does sound like something kids would do these days.
‚ÄĘ Thigh Gap/Bikini Bridge/A4 Paper Challenge
This trend has a more subtle danger than others on this list, but it‚Äôs sad and harmful for teen girls nonetheless. All three challenge a young audience to conform to difficult, sometimes impossible beauty standards of thinness. The thigh gap means the person, who is almost always a girl, can stand with her feet together and still have a gap between her thighs. The bikini bridge refers to when a girl wearing a bikini lies on her back and her hipbones raise the hemline of the bikini bottoms slightly above her stomach, creating a ‚Äúbridge‚ÄĚ of sorts. And the A4 paper challenge originated in China, where a woman would hold a piece of A4 paper in front of her stomach to see if it was larger than her waist. All of these ideals emphasize that girls should be as skinny as possible, and that can lead to life-threatening eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and plain old self-consciousness and body image issues.
‚ÄĘ The Eraser Challenge
Similar to the Salt and Ice Challenge, this one is meant to induce pain. Participants grab an eraser and roughly trace letters and words onto their bare skins, and compare the marks left from friction literally rubbing their skin away. As stupid as it is, it kind of seems like something you‚Äôd do in middle school, right?
‚ÄĘ The Backpack Challenge
And finally, the Backpack Challenge, in which a person runs between two lines of people chucking backpacks full of stuff at them. It‚Äôs the equivalent of being stoned by your friends for a good laugh. Obviously, the backpacks don‚Äôt have to be full of materials that could knock you unconsciousness, but who wants to risk that? Especially considering that several backpacks are being thrown at once with at various speeds. It‚Äôs not clever. Instead of trying it, watch this unforgettable Vine instead.
Are kids ever going to stop doing stupid crap to make people laugh at their internet fails? Probably not. So let‚Äôs just stick a ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt Try This At Home‚ÄĚ warning over the entire meme-making community and hope for the best.