You've probably seen it at some point on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Vine feeds: people, particularly teenagers, participating in video "challenges" that usually involve doing something pretty stupid. Say, for instance, swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon in under 60 seconds, or dumping an entire bucket of ice on your head (respectively and creatively called the "Cinnamon" and "Ice" challenges).
The latest, and probably most stupid, challenge trend of them all, the #FireChallenge, has hospitalized a Harris County teenager for harmful burns. According to Lieutenant Dean Hensley of the Harris County Fire Marshal's office, the boy doused himself in isopropyl alcohol, a highly flammable substance, and proceeded to set himself on fire.
It's no wonder he ended up hospitalized, as have multiple teens across the country. Some have even died.
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The Ice Challenge isn't all that harmful. It just sounds like an unpleasant experience. And so you would think about the Cinnamon Challenge, but according to Forbes, it can have harmful side effects such as asthma attacks and lung complications.
But okay, sure, there's no immediate, apparent danger that comes with swallowing a spoonful of the spice. Why, then, would teenagers deliberately set themselves on fire? The answer really is as simple as doing it because it's a trend.
It's reminiscent of the Passout Challenge that became a thing a couple of years ago, in which people tried to get "high" by asphyxiation, or cutting off their oxygen supply.
For these challenges, you post a video of yourself to social media and "nominate" a few of your friends to partake in it. It's sort of like an Internet dare. If you don't do it, you're not cool and you don't end up in a hospital. Participants seem to have forgotten that guts and common sense aren't the same thing.