One of the first lessons that we learn as children is to avoid danger at all costs. After all, when we injure ourselves, even if it's just a scratch, we are hardly met with a pleasant sensation. Pain hurts for a reason. It's our body's way of telling us that something is wrong, and while self-harm is something which many people become addicted to, attempting to cope with deep set emotional trauma is very different from deliberately injuring yourself in a bid to go viral on the internet.
But in 2018, viral fame, for some people, is revered above personal safety, and if online challenges are anything to go by, countless people around the world are prepared to risk it all for views and likes - even if that means suffering a slow and painful death. Case in point, the Tide Pod challenge: because eating detergent is a surefire way to end up internet famous... and in the emergency room.
Or, if you want to avoid death, but still want to rake in those oh-so-precious likes, then perhaps the Hot Coil Challenge would be more up your street. Needless to say, the people behind these viral challenges aren't exactly the brightest crayons in the box and it is, quite literally, what it says on the tin: placing your arm on a hot coil for as long as possible. Lovely!
Of course, sometimes viral challenges can be reminiscent of classic horror movies like The Ring and if you're looking to scare yourself half to death and aren't stupid enough to actually act on this one, you could text a rumored cursed phone number on WhatsApp and speak to Moma. Apparently, she'll know everything there is to know about your life and use it to her advantage.
Oh, and she'll probably send you violent images and messages as she tries to get your credit card details.
Now, there's a new online example of natural selection in action: the Hot Water Challenge. And no, Gryffindor won't be getting awarded 10 points for guessing what this involves. In fact, if you don't know what it involves, I'd say you're stupider than Nearly Headless Nick's ghost without his head and, quite frankly, deserve to get chucked headfirst out of Hogwarts.
If you're stupid enough to participate in the Hot Water Challenge, you'll need to begin your quest to obtain third-degree burns by boiling some water. But what makes this challenge so incredibly horrific (yes, as hard as it might be to believe, it's actually worse than the Tide Pod and Hot Coil challenges) is the fact that people have three options about what they do with the hot water.
Firstly, they can choose to throw it over themselves, or, if they're looking to frazzle their internal organs, they can drink it. Or, as has led to the hospitalization of numberous people, they can throw it over others without their consent.
Now, most of us, whether we are viral fame hungry or not, can say that if we were approached by a stranger in the street and stabbed, we probably won't be too happy about it, and having boiling water poured over you is no different.
To see some first class idiots doing the Hot Water Challenge for yourself, check out the video below:
While the challenge itself might be amusing at best, to watch people do to themselves, the effects that it has on those who are subject to it without their consent are devastating, and that has been epitomized by what happened to this Indianapolis teen.
Fifteen-year-old Kyland Clark said that his ordeal began with the seemingly innocuous activity of watching YouTube videos with people he thought were his friends. It was while doing this that they first came across the Hot Water Challenge.
Then, after Kyland had fallen asleep, his "friend", who cannot be named for legal reasons, did it to him "as a joke".
The 15-year-old then woke up in agony, having been subjected to second-degree burns and was subsequently hospitalized for a week. Now at home, he is sharing his story in an attempt to discourage people from taking part in the challenge.
"There's a limit to what you should do in a challenge and what you shouldn't. Don't take it overboard," Kyland told WLTW.
Here, Kyland recounts his horrific ordeal:
To put what Kyland suffered into context, there are three layers to human skin - the epidermis (top), dermis (middle) and hypodermis (bottom). First-degree burns will affect the epidermis and third-degree burns affect the hypodermis.
Whereas the second-degree burns the 15-year-old suffered from affect the epidermis and dermis - the latter of which is full of nerve endings, blood vessels, and sweat glands. This kind of burn can cause the dermis to shed, which is what happened to Kyland.
He said that when he woke up in pain, his first reaction was to rip off his shirt and run to the bathroom for cold water.
"And then I looked down at my chest. My skin just fell off my chest, and then I looked in the mirror and I had skin falling off here and, on my face," Kyland told WLTW.
Because of the severity of these injuries, Kyland is now covered in bandages and has to regularly apply ointment.
If the second-degree burns are kept clean enough, they can heal in around two weeks.
"To see my baby, all burned up like that, it was heartbreaking," Kyland's mom Andrea told the station.
While most of us can attest to receiving some degree of gratification from having a popular social media post, I think we can all agree that anyone who is willing to risk their safety - or that of another person - for viral fame is nothing more than a f*cking monkey in shoes. So, for the sake of not embarrassing the human race, please don't do the Hot Water Challenge.