From the Tide pod challenge which had teens purposely consuming laundry detergent to the condom challenge where teens were snorting condoms up their nose and out through their mouths, I thought I had seen it all. That was until the ‘Hot Water Challenge’ showed up on my newsfeed…
It sounds so crazy that it can’t actually be real, right? The challenge involves either dumping boiling hot water on someone or drinking it through a straw, both highly dangerous choices that are sure to lead to serious harm. However, it appears that today’s kids will do anything to create the next viral video on YouTube.
The family of an Indianapolis teen is speaking up, hoping to raise awareness of the potential risks after 15-year-old Kyland Clark was taken to the hospital with second-degree burns on his back, chest, and face. Clark had been looking at hot water challenge videos on YouTube with a friend, and that night his friend poured boiling water on him as a prank. “And then I looked down at my chest,” Kyland told Fox59 news. “My skin just fell off my chest, and then I looked in the mirror and I had skin falling off here and on my face.”
The challenge recently surfaced once again, however it has been around for over a year. During this time, hospitals have reported a large number of children coming in with hot water-related burns. They range from minor burns to the most extreme cases, with one fatality associated with the challenge.
Last year 8-year-old Ki’ari Pope was dared to take part in the challenge, drinking hot water through a straw. The water burned her mouth and throat, resulting in serious complications. She received a tracheotomy that reportedly ‘caused her to have chronic respiratory problems’ and left her ‘unable to talk’. One night she complained of difficulty breathing before she lost consciousness. She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. It’s a harsh reminder of the dangers that these viral challenges expose children to.
Parents are encouraged to talk with their teens openly about these viral challenges, discussing the dangers and potential risks. It is important to acknowledge the peer pressure that our children are facing, both from their peers as well as from the YouTube celebrities that they look up to.
As the main source of these viral challenge videos, YouTube has come under attack. While the dangerous videos are removed when they have been reported, people are now calling for the website to step up their policies to avoid the original posting. In a discussion with the website Tech Crunch, a YouTube spokesperson stated, “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies.”