The Safe-Or-Not Challenge

February 12, 2016


The allure of social media, peer pressure and trendy fads has lead many to make insensible choices that may cause potential health risks. A subculture of people who see these challenges may question one’s morals, but others see it as exciting, although they offer no reward except the entertainment of others and pain for participants.

The cinnamon challenge increased in popularity in 2010, when people began posting videos of themselves swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking any liquids.

More and more people began uploading videos attempting the challenge, which attracted many viewers and eventually reached the mainstream media. YouTuber GloZell Green most notably attracted more than 42 million views with her video, in which she used a soup ladle instead of a tablespoon. An episode of NBC’s Chicago Fire discourages the challenge.

In an episode of the show, a competition is held between the characters to determine who will get to live in Kelly Severide’s new apartment, but they abandon the cinnamon challenge and are later reprimanded by the chief.

Despite the obvious health risks that accompany the challenge, many still attempt the challenge to prove prospective viewers their capabilities.

“I did the cinnamon challenge in seventh grade because everyone talked about how impossible it was and I wanted to prove that I could do anything,” senior Kayla Ladis said. “My reaction wasn’t too severe but my mouth got really dry and I felt beyond uncomfortable. I just coughed a lot and yelled desperately for my mom to bring me water. She didn’t.”

According to, cinnamon contains of cellulose fibers that do not dissolve and are not biodegradable in the lungs and can cause irritation of the airways.

As soon as it is swallowed, a searing tightness works its way down the throat. Once the cinnamon leaves the tongue and fills the mouth with desiccated particles, people tend to panic and suck in, which leads to both swallowing and inhaling of the cinnamon, causing the body to explode with disapproval. It may lead to coughing, gagging and sometimes even vomiting- none of which appeal to the average human being. Long story short, cinnamon takes the form of dried-out malice.

“I have no regrets. If I hadn’t tried the challenge, I would have always wondered what would have happened,”  Ladis said. “It was no walk in the park but I still look back at the experience and laugh.”



The idea of plump pout spanned social media and within a matter of months, several young girls attempted to artificially plump their lips to look more like the 18-year-reality-star-turned-model, Kylie Jenner. The Kylie Jenner lip challenge initially began as a challenge to emulate Hollywood’s notion of luscious lips, but spiraled into a dangerous fad.

By taking a shot glass, placing it against the lips and sucking the air out of the cup, a vacuum-like effect creates friction that artificially plumps one’s lips. However, since glass is not flexible, the pressure may shatter the glass causing serious injuries that may require stitches. The resulting plumped lips are usually short-term, but may have lasting consequences such as significant pain, swelling and bruising. It also provides a potential risk for permanent disfigurement.

Sophomore Emily Lamas attempted the lip challenge during her freshman year when joking around with her brothers.

“We were joking around and I wasn’t really trying to do it but my lips got stuck and it wouldn’t come off for about three hours,” Lamas said. “They were swollen and I couldn’t feel them for the rest of the day but the bruise lasted a week give or take.”

Ever since Kylie Jenner confessed that her infamous pout credits the work of lip injections, a new trend called the #NoKylieJennerChallenge began sweeping the web with a positive message. Social media users from diverse backgrounds began showing off their natural assets, promoting confidence and self-acceptance in the process.



Although the aforementioned challenges are designed for entertainment and are often dangerous in origin, others have gained a national spotlight for their goal to raise awareness, such as the The Krispy Kreme challenge and ALS Ice Bucket challenge.

On Saturday, February 6, 2016, residents of North Carolina participated in the 12th annual Krispy Kreme challenge which supports North Carolina Children’s Hospital; the money raised helps fund additional equipment and support services for the hospital’s patients. Participants begin the challenge at the Memorial Belltower in Raleigh, North Carolina and run 2.5 miles to Krispy Kreme and attempt to consume one dozen original glazed doughnuts. The challenging part, however, is the 2.5 mile run that awaits them on the way back.

“I think that challenges such as the cinnamon challenge or [Kylie Jenner] lip challenge are made by some friends just for fun; they aren’t necessarily made with any knowledge of those dangerous consequences,” junior John Mangialetto said. “I don’t think they should be scrutinized as much as they are. People just need to bring more attention to those challenges that benefit people in need.”

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge spread a positive message through interactions on social media. It has raised both money and awareness on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease which attacks nerve cells and leads to complete paralysis.

The challenge inspired people like Bill Grate, LeBron James, Taylor Swift and David Beckham to dump buckets of ice water on their heads to speak out for the cause, as well as donate money toward the cause to fight the disease. It began as a fundraising campaign and turned into an internet sensation.

“Some people only see the opportunity to make a challenge for entertainment purposes and others see the same opportunity but find a way to make it beneficial to people in need which in my opinion is brilliant,”  Mangialetto said. “I’ve only tried the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because I was nominated but I was thrilled to do it because I knew it was for a good cause.

Unfortunately though, not everyone completes these challenges. On Saturday, February 6, 2016, Jeff Woods passed away during the North Carolina Krispy Kreme challenge, after dropping out of the race due to chest pains one mile after starting. According to, a single doughnut meets the maximum daily allowance of trans fats, so eating a dozen in less than an hour is likely to increase the participant’s risk of heart disease. Although Woods’ cause of death was not due to the consumption of the doughnuts, many of these internet challenges are dangerous, even if some are for a good cause.

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