Hopping on that internet bandwagon to try the latest viral challenge might seem fun, but beware. Just like the choking game of the previous decade, the latest batch of risky stunts sweeping teenage circles and beyond have far more serious consequences than what you see on apps like Tik Tok and Snapchat. In some cases, attempting an internet challenge resulted in major health problems or even death. Read up on some of the most popular viral challenges that led to documented physical harm.
The internet was briefly obsessed with suctioning their lips inside cups or other objects to recreate Kylie Jenner’s signature cosmetically enhanced pout. It had disastrous results, with popped blood vessels, bruises, and in some cases, permanent damage.
Your mouth is not a washing machine, so get that toxic detergent pod out from there! Logic vanished when people decided to copy this poisonous trend, recording themselves eating colorful laundry soap pods, which resulted in eight deaths.
YouTube / Jake Iannarino
This doozy of a challenge involved hopping out of a moving car to dance alongside the open door to the Drake song “In My Feelings.” Obviously, this is incredibly unsafe. There are multiple instances of participants falling, hitting their heads, and getting struck by the cars.
If the deranged looking Momo gives you the creeps, fear not, for this challenge is a hoax. It was reported that children worldwide were engaged in self-harm at the request of this mysterious figure, but it turned out to be a creepypasta — a scary internet urban legend — with no documented injuries.
While it raised global awareness and donations for ALS research, the ice bucket challenge wasn’t a completely positive experience for everyone who recorded a video of themselves dumping ice water over their heads. Several cases of heart attacks, drownings, and other deaths were reported.
Getty Images / NurPhoto / Contributor
Say goodbye to your teeth or even your hair if you attempt this ill-advised stunt. It’s much safer to telling corny jokes rather than eating corn off the end of a moving drill like a cartoon character. Humans don’t rebound as quickly!
YouTube / Roman Atwood Blogs
This viral trend has no gray area. People literally lit themselves on fire, convinced by a scientific trick to ignore danger — rubbing alcohol. You could supposedly cover your body in the flammable liquid with the intention of burning it off, but in reality, kids just set themselves ablaze.
YouTube / WTHR
Plastic is not fantastic, no matter what you’ve heard! This foolhardy challenge that swept social media apps like Snapchat, involved eating food items with the “shell on.” People ate banana peels, orange rinds, and completely inedible plastics.
Mix 106 Radio / Courtesy of Billy Jenkins
TikTokers beware of this ridiculous challenge! Teens gathered around in circles and recorded a worm’s eye view of their faces as they tossed heavy objects into the air then waited to see if it dropped onto their heads. Concussions ran aplenty!
YouTube / Relevate
You know how mentos react with diet coke? Well, a liter of sprite and 2 bananas produce a similar effect. People tested it out inside their bodies for the sake of the internet, and it produces an instantaneous vomiting reaction.
YouTube / Beyond Seattle Eats
The objective of this challenge is to run through two lines of people chucking heavy textbook-laden backpacks at you and make it out unscathed. A bit of roughhousing is one thing, but taking a packed book-bag to the face is another.
New York Magazine
This is not jamming a fork into the socket, but it’s close enough. Popular on TikTok, the challenge saw people sliding pennies behind partially plugged in phone chargers to create sparks. Firefighters urged parents to warn their kids against this electrical risk.
This trend kicked off early in 2020, and we’ve since grown to shudder at the health risks of eating cereal out of someone else’s mouth. TikTokers poured milk and cereal into a pal’s open “bowl” and downed spoonfuls. Grossness aside, it’s a choking hazard.
YouTube / What’s Trending
Saying “Uncle!” was too tame for this generation of toughness-proving youths. Instead, they tried this skin burning test of strength, holding ice on a salted layer of skin until you could no longer stand the pain, sustaining serious burns.
20 Minutes / YouTube
The cloud of pumpkin scented spice might appear funny; however, cinnamon asphyxiation is no joke. Many have attempted to gulp down a spoonful of cinnamon without water within 60 seconds and have seen how taxing it is to the body, causing choking, collapsed lungs, and respiratory failure.
YouTube / The Official Hungry
We’ve all tripped somebody for a laugh, though we really shouldn’t. It leads to trends like this — sweeping your friend’s legs out from under them for internet likes. Several of these prank videos ended with spinal and head injuries.
Wrapping a friend and duct tape is a fun game in theory, yet it can go badly wrong. The person wrapped in duct tape has to force their way free, and in one case, a teenager fell and permanently blinded himself.
YouTube / Sara and Brandon
One particularly exclusive meme challenge that emerged in Russia, and quickly moved to China and the U.S. was taking “oops I dropped all my expensive things” photos. Posing in a splat position surrounded by your luxury items isn’t physically dangerous, just elitist.
A doctored photo of a light-filtered iris spawned a shocking internet trend that many fell for. It claimed that holding a bagged mixture of hand sanitizer, bleach, and shaving cream on your eye for a minute would turn it a lighter color. It doesn’t, and you shouldn’t!
Newsweek / TikTok / @GregGlammer
Rather than succumbing to the chaos agents on the internet who want to see people do stupid and potentially harmful things, get your jollies with a good old fashioned prank. These gags provide the same euphoric rush without any lasting damage.
YouTube / Miniminter
This gruesome trick is too good not to try next Halloween. You need some good Photoshop skills, though, to merge photos of the front and sides of your face to make a big, flat picture of your head. Then you just laminate the picture and put it into a curved jar filled with water.
Recreate your very own bloody scene from Carrie by removing your showerhead and decanting a packet of red drink mix inside. Then just reattach the showerhead and wait for the chaos to begin.
Catch people when they’re at their most relaxed by disguising yourself as a comfy chair. You’ll have to cram your legs into a couch cushion and cover your head with a blanket, but when someone sits on you and you suddenly move, it’ll be totally worth it.
Here you’ll need access to the car of your unsuspecting victim, a whole bunch of Post-it notes and a lot of patience. Incidentally, a car totally covered in colorful sticky notes actually looks pretty great.
YouTube/Jono and Ben
Swapping out the sweet sugary filling of an Oreo for the minty mayhem of toothpaste is a sure fire way to ruin someone’s day. Pro tip: use a butter knife to get the best spread.
Give your roommates or family a rude welcome home by attaching a carefully positioned air horn to a wall behind one of your doors. Just don’t forget it’s there or you might get a fright yourself.
Terrify your home’s next owners by leaving an ominous message under the carpet. You’ll have to sacrifice your own enjoyment for this one, though, as you probably won’t get to see the priceless reactions on your victims’ faces.
Here’s another painstaking hoax for all the persistent prankers out there. When it’s freezing cold, use water to fix cotton wool balls all over your buddy’s car; there’ll be nothing left to cushion the blow.
YouTube/Erik Dawson Mallasch
This prank was actually adapted from the creation of Helmut Smits, a Dutch artist. All you need to do is splodge some paint above the window wipers and wait for them to be switched on. Just make sure you put the paints on the passenger’s side.
Leave someone feeling really down in the dumps by mocking up a fake TP roll. Then attach one real toilet paper sheet to the hollow tube and listen out for the scream of rage. Taunting message optional.
The guy who created this prank saw a golden opportunity when his uncle bought a brand new TV and left him alone for a while. So, naturally, the kid used his evil Photoshop powers to make it look as though the TV had spectacularly shattered, and his poor uncle totally fell for it.
Why not punk the entire neighborhood by stuffing a black bag with strategically placed garbage and making it look like there’s a dead body tied up in your yard? Mind you, there’s a very real chance you could get arrested.
This stinker involves pouring blitzed-up onion inside a roll-on deodorant stick. If anyone in your household is reckless enough to actually use a “deodorant” that smells this bad, it’ll be a job well done.
Running out of shampoo can be a drag, but having a gunky mess pour from the bottle instead is much, much worse. This simple but effective prank requires you to merely replace the contents of a shampoo bottle with a mixture of water and cornflour.
A pair of scissors and some black card is all you need for this seriously creepy trick. Just fix the bug-shaped pieces of card inside one of your home’s lamps, then make sure the most insectophobic member of your household turns it on.
No, this is not the scene of some horrendous robbery. A dude actually just wound down the car’s window, scattered some pre-broken glass on the floor and placed a weapon or two next to it. Genius, really.
Scare the living daylights out of someone by cutting eye shapes into empty toilet rolls and slotting glow sticks inside. Now all you need to do is place them in the trees and wait for dark.
One for those people living in an apartment building, this simply involves placing a perfectly cut long, thin mirror onto one step of your communal stairs. There’s no doubt that this will freak more than a few people out.
For a super-irritating – and super-easy – trick to play on your family, cover a bar of soap in clear nail polish. The polish will stop the soap from lathering, and you’ll be able to prank everyone who needs to wash his or her hands with just one bar.
This prank is genuinely evil, and you’ll be a genius if you can pull it off. Just place a balloon inside a box and gently cover it with frosting. Then when your victim cuts into their “cake,” it’ll explode.