Internet challenges fueled by need to belong

Internet challenges have become a regular part of online culture, but many of these challenges can be dangerous if not deadly.

Some of these challenges include: eating Tide Pods, ingesting large amounts of cinnamon, and snorting condoms.

One challenge, known as the 48-hour challenge, encourages kids to go missing for 48 hours. The harder it is for family members to find them, the more points they get, according to an article at Sword and Scale, a website that covers crime.

On Jan. 12, a 17-year-old was involved in a car crash when she blindfolded herself in an attempt to recreate a scene from the movie “Birdbox,” according to reports from CNN. Her car veered over into oncoming traffic and she hit a truck. While nobody was seriously hurt, the result of the car crash renewed talks about the dangers of Internet challenges.

The Momo challenge dares children to either do harm to themselves or to others, according to the UK publication The Week.  According to the Independent UK, the Momo challenge has been linked to the popular video game Fortnite and the children’s show Peppa Pig.  The Momo challenge was found to be a hoax, according to The Week.

While social media has played a huge role in the expansion of these Internet challenges, Jonathan Carrier, an instructor in psychology, said that these ideas show how human beings work.

“Human beings have a powerful need to belong with a group. That is hard wired into us,” Carrier said. “When we see somebody do something, that they are getting attention for, we are like ‘oh my gosh, we need to do the same thing in order to belong.’”

Carrier also mentioned that the people doing these challenges are also attention-seekers.

While Carrier said he believes that these Internet challenges will not go away, one way to help curb adolescents from doing these acts is to simply talk about critical thinking.

“If we can change peoples ability and willingness to think more critically about these things and show them the danger of these things, they are less likely to do it,” Carrier said.\

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