By Anthony Santino
In all of its expansiveness, the internet has naturally made way for a niche that provides its users with a platform to take part in viral challenges. Some of these challenges started with the intention of raising money and awareness for worthy causes, such as the ALS ice bucket challenge that sought to promote research on its namesake’s disease. However, people have also taken the idea of viral challenges to dangerous measures.
The “Tide Pod Challenge,” a recent internet sensation that entails participants biting into Tide laundry pods, has taken an infamous path to viral status.
“I just think it’s really idiotic that people what would eat something that cleans their clothes,” said senior Lauren Kelly.
Tide Pods contain chemicals like surfactants and bleach, the latter of which can cause burns to your digestive tract, according to a research article done by independent.co.uk.
In regards to the health risks the challenge poses, sophomore Seiji Hosokawa doesn’t find the undertaking to be a safe choice for those willing to participate.
“I think the tide pod challenge is very dangerous as you will likely be hospitalized if you ingest the chemicals contained in them,” said Hosokawa.
Hosokawa isn’t the only one who thinks this trend is dangerous. David Taylor, who is the CEO of Procter & Gamble (the company that owns Tide,) has responded to the internet challenge by discouraging it. According to an article from abcnews.com, Taylor has been working with social media companies to remove videos of people eating and chewing the pods.
“Let them know that their life and health matter more than clicks, views and likes,” said Taylor, according to the ABC News article.
In an effort to further promote their mission of preventing injuries from this viral sensation, Tide enlisted New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski for a video that talks about the dangers of eating the packs.
Hosokawa thinks the prospect of gaining attention is the only motive behind someone wanting to do the challenge.
“It has become viral because of the exposure it has received across social media, and especially YouTube,” said Hosokawa.
“People have created memes out of the advertisements Tide has, which has furthered its popularity,” said Hosokawa.
YouTube has responded to this controversial matter with a statement.
“YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm,” said YouTube said in a statement. “We work quickly to remove flagged videos that violate our policies.”
On the company website, YouTube has a ‘Community Guidelines’ page that asserts what to avoid posting on the site. Included on this page is a section titled ‘Harmful or dangerous content,’ which discourages posting videos that might inspire others to engage in unsettling behavior. Videos that don’t fit within these boundaries are typically flagged and removed from the site.
Senior Allie Simmons is baffled by the notion that people would even consider putting a Tide Pod in their mouth in the first place.
“I think the Tide Pod challenge is so stupid and people are doing it for attention,” said Simmons. “There have been a lot of ‘challenges’ throughout the years, but this one has to be the worst. It’s so dangerous and I don’t see why people are actually taking part in it.”