BY now we’ve all heard of the ‘ice bucket challenge,’ a harmless bit of fun which has raised hundreds of millions for ALS and muscular dystrophy charities around the world.
Not every viral craze that does the rounds on social media sites is as safe, however, and parents should be careful to ensure that their children know what they are getting into before they attempt some of these ‘fun’ internet challenges.
The cinnamon challenge involves eating an entire teaspoon of ground cinnamon within 60 seconds: and without the help of water to wash the moisture-absorbing spice down.
A YouTube search will yield the more typical reactions to this stunt, which include gagging, a burning sensation and even vomiting.
Choking is not that uncommon, and if inhaled, cinnamon in the lungs can lead to swelling, infection, or even pneumonia.
Another even more dangerous viral craze that is proving popular with children and teenagers alike is the ‘salt and ice challenge.’
When salt is added to ice it can reduce the surface temperature to minus 17: great in the science lab, but not so cool when applied to bare skin.
For many teenagers (not to mention much younger children), they are doing exactly that.
Videos abound on YouTube and Facebook which show teens covering their skin with salt before adding an ice cube. The challenge is to see how long you can stand the pain. The severe cold burns the skin, leaving blistering and sometimes lasting scar-damage.
Perhaps parents should sit their children down and speak to them about the dangers of peer pressure. Just because other people are taking part in a stunt on the web, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily safe, and with all the excitement surrounding the ‘ice bucket challenge,’ parents may want to make sure that their children don’t participate in the more dangerous alternatives.