Ramona Crasto

There is a new challenge in town, the #stopandthinkchallenge. Not in the middle of the road or any place unsafe, not with a bucket of ice or in plank post. Instead, we are required to stop and think. I know it’s a bit of a challenge, but play along with me.

Have any of us truly considered how these challenges may be crossing the line from fun and adventurous to dangerous? How our better judgment and sense of self-preservation is eroded by the latest internet/social media craze?

It all started when the Ice Bucket Challenge first spread like wildfire and people forgot that it started to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease and encourage donations for its research.

We don’t realize how dangerous these challenges have turned out to be. The Plank Challenge, a craze in which people lie face down in strange places while someone takes their picture, claimed the life of a young man in Australia who plunged to his death from an apartment balcony while “planking”. The Floor is Lava Challenge turned out to be more harmful than fun when two girls in Solothurn in Switzerland climbed onto a staircase, wanting to ‘save’ themselves while attempting the challenge. Things took a turn for the worse when one of them lost their balance and fell four meters over the railings to the stairs below. Luckily, she didn’t suffer any major injuries.

Nearly every day we hear stories of people dying or being seriously injured while trying to film themselves for social media doing crazy stunts or jumping on the viral challenge bandwagon.

What does it take for us to understand the dangers we cause by not only putting our lives at risk but also of those around us.
Which bring us to the latest Kiki Challenge that involves a person jumping out of a slow moving car and dancing to the song ‘In My Feelings’ by Drake. A teen from Iowa tripped and hit her head when she attempted to get out of the car and try the Kiki Challenge. She had to be taken to the intensive care unit. To avoid such a situation, many countries including Kuwait and UAE have taken measures to ban this challenge.

In Kuwait, attempting the challenge can lead to a KD 100 fine and three months of imprisonment. Three influencers in UAE were arrested for doing the same and will be faced with imprisonment and a fine. Many might call this an extreme measure, but the authorities believe that most car accidents are caused by lack of attention on the road while driving, even when the driver isn’t speeding.

No one is against having fun – the Mannequin Challenge was all about it. But then came challenges that were the exact opposite. The Blue Whale and Momo challenges created to provoke suicidal tendencies in teenagers are proof of how people are so keen on having fun and attempting to challenge their fears that it ends up costing them their lives. And let’s not forget that oftentimes no one really knows where these challenges start. There are plenty of trolls on the internet who invent silly and dangerous challenges with the intention of causing harm.

So let’s stop and think about how we can have fun without hurting ourselves and others.

By Ramona Crasto
[email protected]

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