Social media

Five viral challenges that range from fluffy to plain stupid to potentially deadly

Some viral challenges have been for worthwhile causes in the past, but other recent crazes have either been very silly or truly horrifying. We look at these bizarre online fads and how they came about in the first place

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2018, 6:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 August, 2018, 6:00pm

Viral challenges are there to be loved or loathed. Some do good – take the 2014 Ice bucket Challenge that raised awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as motor neurone disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Celebrities took up the challenge all over the world, with even Bill Gates accepting Mark Zuckerberg’s offer to do it.

‘Blue Whale’ youth suicide game fears sparks social media fightback

Others, such as the 2016 mannequin challenge where people uploaded videos of themselves looking as though they were frozen in time, are purely for laughs.

Others are just plain dangerous. The current “Boiling Water Challenge” where, yes, you guessed it, people pour boiling hot water on others or themselves as a “prank” on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook is one example.

Here are five other viral challenges that range from the adorable to the horrifying.

1. Blue Whale Game

The creepy Momo has revived memories of the suicidal viral challenge Blue Whale Game that struck fear in parents in 2016. Believed to have started in Russia, the challenge went viral and killed several children across the world when the “game” asked “players” to carry out a series of tasks assigned by administrators over a 50-day period, initially innocuous before introducing elements of self-harm and the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide.

In China, police departments called on the public to ban “Blue Whale” while tech giant Tencent got involved after finding groups on its QQ instant messaging service using keywords related to “Blue Whale”. In Hong Kong, the Association for Preventing Youth Soc-icide appealed to the public to be watchful for youngsters taking this online challenge.

2. What the Fluff Challenge

You must be living under a rock if you haven’t seen the shocked faces of oh-so-cute pooches after they have become “victims” of the What the Fluff Challenge. The challenge is harmless: a person holds up a blanket at a doorway then disappears, leaving a perplexed pooch wondering how the human could make such strange magic.

Although some do not always go to plan – this is always the challenge when working with animals. What began as a trick for dogs that made a Husky famous on Instagram started off a phenomenon.

It has spread through the animal kingdom to birds and cats, and we hope it continues spreading because we need more fun and happy fluff on our feeds.

3. Tide Pod Challenge

The new generations’ sensibilities were questioned when videos started circulating earlier this year showing kids biting into laundry detergent packets, landing some in hospital. The tide pods might look like colourful confectionery but they are poisonous.

So big a problem was the challenge that a number of poison control centres were set up across the US and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission even tweeted a request to its almost 42,000 followers: please do not eat laundry pods.

4. Keke Challenge

When Drake’s track In My Feelings from his album Scorpion was released in June, comedian Shiggy uploaded his version to YouTube with hashtags #InMyFeelingschallenge and #Kekechallenge.

It kicked off big time after this, with the Drake-inspired dance craze even catching on in Hong Kong. But the craze also came with safety worries when thousands took the challenge to the extreme by recording themselves jumping from moving cars and busting their moves while the vehicle was still travelling down the road.

5. The Condom Challenge

In April this dangerous social media challenge saw teens snorting an unwrapped condom up one nostril, then pulling it through their throats and out of their mouths.

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Parents at the time were urged to be vigilant as the trend also sparked safety concerns, with fears of potential choking to death. Enough said.