Social media trends can be very influential and make a real difference. From clicktivism like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014 to the many movements promoting inclusivity and body positivity, social media has been a catalyst for many positive changes in our society.


Social media trends featured

However, there’s a different breed of social media trends that serve no good purpose. And actually, can be dangerous to anyone replicating them. In this article, we list the most dangerous social media trends that we hope our readers are intelligent enough not to try at home.

But just in case… do not try these at home!

1. The 48-hour Missing Challenge

footprints on a dark snow covered path

This challenge originated in Western Europe several years ago as “The Game of 72”. It reemerged as a social media challenge in early 2019 and is still going strong.

Teens are challenging each other to abduct themselves for 48 hours. They are disappearing on purpose without a trace in the hopes of getting their images and names trending on social media.

There have been whispers of a points system where points are awarded to the participants while their loved ones are relentlessly searching for them. Which is as nightmarish as it sounds.

2. The Ice Cream Challenge

This “movement” involves a person being filmed for social media while they open an ice cream carton in a store, lick it, and stick it back in the freezer.

In Lufkin, Texas, a woman filmed herself completing the ice cream challenge and she was tracked down after the video surfaced on Twitter. She is now facing food tampering charges. This trend is anything but cool. Especially in the middle of a pandemic.

3. The Choking Game

Teenagers are choking themselves to induce a high, or to bring themselves back from the dead. This act of self-asphyxiation can produce a deadly high because of the lack of oxygen flow to the brain.

The participants are using Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to post footage of this dangerous game with hashtags like #passoutchallenge and #thechokinggame.

Many parents have come forward to warn people of the dangers of this game, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that 82 people have died since 1995 due to this troubling trend. The average age of the participants is just 12-years-old.

4. The Boiling Water Challenge

man taking part in ice bucket challenge

This is very different from the aforementioned ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This trend involves someone dumping a boiling bucket of water on themselves for social media likes. In stark contrast to the ALS challenge of using cold water to gather charity funds.

This trend has resulted in many severe burns in children, teens, and adults alike. The youngest person admitted to hospital after completing this challenge was only 3-years-old.

5. The Cinnamon Challenge

This challenge entails the participant attempting to swallow a large amount of cinnamon without water in under a minute. They then post the videos to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. 

Since it was seen as a popular, seemingly harmless trend, you may have seen some big-name YouTubers trying this one. Unfortunately, it’s actually very dangerous.

Since the cinnamon coats the throat, eating it without liquid can result in irritation to the mouth, throat, and lungs, and even choking. This challenge has actually killed a child in Kentucky. Four-year-old Matthew Rader died of asphyxia after he attempted the cinnamon challenge and ended up with the spice in his lungs.

To date, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has reported receiving hundreds of calls detailing serious injuries from attempting this seemingly harmless challenge.

6. The Duct Tape Challenge

scotch duct tape

This challenge peaked from 2016-2018 but people are still uploading videos of themselves attempting it, despite the obvious risks. The duct tape challenge involves someone being duct-taped to a wall, or their hands and feet being bound. The challenge being to “escape the tape”. Some people attempt daring stunts to free themselves, while others end up being trapped for hours.

In 2016, a Washington teen attempted this challenge while his hands and feet were bound, and he fell to the ground, smashing his face on the corner of a window frame, then on the concrete floor. He lived, but this alarming incident resulted in a busted eye socket, an aneurysm, and 48 staples to his head.

7. The Salt and Ice Challenge

This viral trend involves putting salt on your body and then holding ice to the salt, which causes an intense reaction and potential burns. The videos are uploaded to TikTok and other platforms for likes.

While it isn’t as life-threatening as many of these other trends, it is still something you shouldn’t attempt at home.

8. The Sun Art Challenge

women sunbathing on a beach

This is when a person makes a design on their skin with sunblock and then lets the sun burn the skin around the design. When the sunscreen is removed there is a pattern left as a result. The photos are uploaded to social media and the person whose photo is the most “artistic” wins.

What do they win? Bragging rights and skin damage.

Since sustaining five or more sunburns in your youth is thought to raise your risk of skin cancer by 80 percent, this is a trend that may have serious long-term implications.

9. The Bird Box Challenge

In 2018, the Sandra Bullock movie Bird Box took the world by storm. It is a horror/action movie about a family who attempts to escape a monster completely blindfolded.

Like many of the weirdest social media trends, this one began with memes and then was taken to the next level with a dangerous challenge.

This challenge entails people wearing blindfolds while completing everyday tasks. Including driving. Once they have completed this dare, they post the videos of their journey to social media platforms. This risky trend has led to some viral videos and photos, but also many unwanted injuries.

A 16-year-old in Utah almost killed herself and a friend after she decided to do the Bird Box challenge. She pulled a hat over her eyes while she was driving, resulting in her crashing the car into a light pole and sound barrier. Thankfully, they survived.

Netflix has condemned this social media movement and warned others not to attempt it.

10. The Fire Challenge

a lit match against a fire

This trend began in 2014 and is still being practiced today. It involves the person dousing themselves in an accelerant, like nail polish remover, and setting themselves on fire while filming a video. It is believed by the participants that they can control the fire because many believe the fire is only igniting the accelerant and not the skin.

After a 12-year-old girl suffered second and third-degree burns to her body and was placed in critical condition because she attempted this challenge, YouTube released a statement ingwarn others not to attempt it.

YouTube’s community guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm or death. We remove flagged videos that violate our policies.

Since these trends commonly utilize objects that are found in the home, it would be a good idea to talk to your children and warn them to never participate in these dangerous social media challenges.

In a time where social media attention is sought by many young people, we need teenagers to know that getting likes is not as important as their health and safety, both mental and physical.


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