Do NOT try this at home: The "fire challenge" and other ill-advised (sometimes lethal) social media challenges endangering kids

A 12-year-old is in serious condition after lighting himself on fire for social media. Why would anyone do that?

By Brendan Gauthier
May 25, 2016 11:20PM (UTC)
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A 12-year-old boy in New York City was found "badly burned" this week after an apparent botched attempt at the "fire challenge," in which people video themselves as they cover their body in a flammable liquid and light it on fire.

The boy was taken to the hospital in serious condition, but police say his injuries are not life-threatening, according to a New York Daily News report.


The "fire challenge" is just one of many ill-advised social media challenges.

In 2014, a video made the rounds of a girl tossing a pan of boiling water on her unsuspecting brother's back in an escalated version of what's called the "hot water challenge." The prank "left her brother with severe burn marks on his back and upper arms."


Also in 2014, CNN reported on the "Neknominate" drinking game, in which someone drinks a large amount of alcohol (often mixes, sometimes with other gnarly stuff not fit for consumption; e.g. dead mice, "goldfish, insects, engine oil and dog food") in a short amount of time, posts the video on social media, and "nominates" (a la the ALS ice bucket challenge) friends to outdo them.

According to the report, "At least five men aged under 30 have died after drinking deadly cocktails."

The not-so-lethal-but-equally-ill-advised "pepper challenge" is pretty self-explanatory. These two guys at the Carolina Reaper, the certified hottest pepper in the world, and over 16 million people watched, so there's apparently an end game here:


And to further balance out the good with the bad:

Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Fire Challenge Hot Water Challenge Ice Bucket Challenge Social Media