The Disinformation Superhighway, Bad Fad Dept. 0
Robert Bartholomew, writing at Psychology Today Blogs, takes a look at the role of “social” media in popularizing bad fads. A snippet (emphasis added):
Most fads are harmless, short-lived enthusiasms that center around trivial objects and ideas, like the 1950s rage of wearing Davy Crockett racoon skin hats. The 1960s brought us love beads, Troll dolls, and go-go boots, while during the ‘70s pet rocks and mood rings were in vogue. It is difficult to see the harm in these fads unless you are brandishing your pet rock as a weapon or wearing your racoon hat in the woods during hunting season. But occasionally, fads go bad and can lead to serious injury, even death. In recent years several bad fads have taken the form of online challenges.
Being part of an internet challenge by filming and uploading one’s exploits can make it seem more acceptable and strengthen the connection to one’s online peers. It can also foster a feeling that ‘everyone’s doing it so it must be OK.’ The ‘Orbeez Challenge’ is the latest in a long list of potentially dangerous internet fads. One recent social media challenge involved daring someone to swallow a spoonful of powdered cinnamon without any water. The so-called ‘Cinnamon Challenge’ has resulted in several students being hospitalized with breathing problems from the fine powder entering their lungs, causing inflammation and scarring.