If you aren’t up-to-date on weird internet memes sweeping the country, then that headline may seem like a real head-scratcher.
The Tide Pod Challenge is, inexplicably, sweeping the nation. It’s one of those things that pop up every once and while and remind you that the internet is simultaneously one of the best and worst things ever created by humankind.
So what is the challenge? It’s pretty simple. Eat a Tide Pod, yes the kind you use for laundry, and then post a video of you eating said laundry pod on the internet.
I know. I don’t really get it either. But whether we old folks understand it or not, it is happening. This isn’t some harmless prank. Eating laundry detergent isn’t like getting a cold bucket of ice water dumped over your head. It’s dangerous.
Although common sense should be enough to stop anyone thinking of ingesting laundry pods, The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) released a frightening statement this week.
“Since our first alert to this life-threatening activity, the trend of intentionally ingesting single-load laundry packets has increased in its popularity despite repeated warnings,” said Stephen Kaminski, JD, AAPCC’s CEO and Executive Director.
In the first two weeks of 2018, poison control centers handled 39 cases where teens were intentionally exposed to liquid laundry pods. Last week alone, there were 47 cases.
From January 1 to January 21, there were 86 cases. And those are just the numbers that are reported to the AAPCC.
“We cannot stress enough how dangerous this is to the health of individuals,” said Kaminski. “It can lead to seizure, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death.”
Old North Arcade has come up with a creative response to all of this attention: a Tide pod-inspired Jello shot.
Of course, these won’t be suitable alternatives for teenagers. But just in case any adults over the age of 21 were thinking of testing out this internet sensation, I’m here to inform you that you can find a safer alternative to this utter madness right here in Columbus.
Luckily, it seems like the universe and internet have gotten their crap together. Youtube recently announced that they will be removing all Tide Pod Challenge videos from the video hosting service.
“YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.
Procter & Gamble, the company behind Tide and their “irresistable to teens on the internet” laundry pods is also doing everything they can to stop this meme from going any further. They even got Gronk involved.
“We have been working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content that is not consistent with their policies. Laundry pacs are made to clean clothes,” said P&G in a statement.
Now I’m going to level with you. If there are any teenagers reading, please listen to this weird old Hufflepuff for a minute. When I was a teen I did all sorts of things. Sure it was before the time of viral internet challenges, but I did them none the less.
There are so many more things you can being with your time that are fun, hilarious, and not likely to kill you. Please, for the love of all that is holy, choose one of those things.