When the words “ingesting” and “Tide Pods” are used in the same sentence, you know there is a problem. The Tide Pod challenge has caught the world by surprise when social media posts and videos of people eating Tide Pod laundry detergents went viral.The media has the power to build grand platforms to spread information to people all over the web, but with power comes great responsibility. Hundreds of thousands of people have jumped on dangerous social media challenges starting with the cinnamon challenge. Following the cinnamon trend was the Kylie Jenner lip challenge and now the life-threatening Tide Pod challenge is on the rise.
The Kylie Jenner lip challenge began when girls wanted to achieve Kylie Jenner’s pouty lip look posted on her social media. For the challenge, people sucked air out of shot glasses or empty pill bottles to get the image of enlarged lips. The results however, proved disastrous. People’s lips bruised and ripped. Shot glasses sometimes even broke from all the pressure, sending glass shards everywhere. “Media can promote negative ideas and magnify the influence on a much larger scale,” junior Charin Song said.
Following the Kylie Jenner challenge, the Tide Pod challenge quickly became the next craze. It started as a joke on the internet but people thought it looked like candy and would be interesting to eat. Adolescents recorded themselves biting into the colorful laundry detergents and spitting them out. The Tide Pods contain highly toxic and poisonous chemicals such as ethanol and hydrogen peroxide.
Ingesting the chemicals leads to vomiting, diarrhea, or even death. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were over 12,000 calls to the U.S. Poison Control Centers due to exposure to laundry pods last year alone, with 10 calls ending in death. There are 37 reported Tide Pod ingestion cases so far in 2018.
Media outlets are now trying to reverse the damage, using media to prevent further spread of the Tide Pod challenge. The Tide company posted a video repetitively saying no to the thought of putting pods in people’s mouths.
Junior Sarah Rankin thinks that media is positive for the majority of people who have the ability to think clearly. “I think it depends on each case. Media often brings people together, but gullible people could actually try dangerous trends like the Tide Pod and cinnamon challenge,” Rankin said.
Despite the countless wild challenges, some media trends do have significant benefits. Started on July 14, 2015, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) ice bucket challenge brought attention to the important disease. With the participation of celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Jennifer Lopez, the challenge raised a total of $220 million according to Business Insider.
The ALS challenge was not the only positive trend promoted through media. Thanks to media and ads, smoking and drunk driving have also significantly decreased, with cigarette smoking at its lowest level amongst high school students in 22 years according to the CDC. “I think media has a positive impact on trends. Media allows people to connect with each other and share common interests. People should be smart enough to realize it’s a bad idea though. At that point, that is why survival of the fittest exists,” junior Rumi Petrova said.
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