There are days where social media scares me so much that I sometimes wonder where we will end up in the future. Throughout the years we have seen several internet challenges that teenagers stupidly have partaken in, like the Tide Pod Challenge, the #brighteyechallenge, the boiling tampon challenge, and the #cerealchallenge. Those are just a few mind you, there are way more on the internet that you do not want to know about.
But this one, this challenge broke my heart into two. Turns out a 12-year-old boy was badly burned after his own friends decided to set him on fire to complete a social media stunt called “The Fire Challenge.” The Michigan boy’s mother, Tabitha Cleary, said her son Jason suffered second-degree burns after his friend sprayed him with nail polish remover and lit him on fire. The boy was hospitalized for a total of 4 days after the incident which took place at a friend’s house.
Honestly, this to me seems just ridiculous. Setting a person on fire to make you “famous” is not cool or exciting in any other way. This kid could have seriously gotten hurt way worse. But, apparently, this wasn’t the first time the boys tried the challenge. The first time they were able to put it out quickly since it didn’t spread enough to create a full fire. The second time, the flames flared up enough to burn Jason’s arms, torso, and neck.
What makes the situation even worse is that “The Fire Challenge” is not necessarily new. According to the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center, the fire challenge started showing up around 2010. Several other social media pranks like this one involve boiling water which followed several years later.
Back in 2016 a boy from Queens, New York was also badly burned after he decided to spray himself with rubbing alcohol and set himself on fire so he could post the video online. According to WDIV, last year a 12-year-old girl from Detroit spent two months in the hospital after suffering second and third-degree burns in the dangerous challenge.
Do these kids not realize that they’re putting their lives in danger to get a few likes here and there on Facebook? It’s really dumb, and at the pace we’re going at, I’m really scared of what can happen in the future.
Parents, I know we can’t control what children do nowadays, but if you see someone buying flammable liquid such as acetone or alcohol, maybe try to talk to them before they seriously burn their friends or themselves.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 7, 2019.