There’s a new challenge going around called the “Sharpie Shock Challenge.” On Instagram, the hashtag #sharpieshockchallenge already has 103 posts, with many of them being videos showing users undertaking the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” for themselves. As seen in the below videos, a person first uses a black marker — usually a black Sharpie — to draw a square or other solid object on their bodies. Most folks draw the object on the backs of their hands. Next, they place the back camera of their smartphone onto the square, making sure the flash is turned on. When they take a photo of the black square, the Sharpie’s black ink somehow reacts with the flash to cause the photo being taken to turn red, and sends the person with the Sharpie ink on their hand into squeals of pain.
As challenges go that spread around online, plenty of them aren’t that safe. The “Condom Challenge,” as reported by the Inquisitr, featured people dropping condoms filled with water onto their heads until their entire heads were surrounded with latex or whatever substance the condom was made from.
There was the popular “Ice and Salt Challenge,” as reported by CBS News, which left a 12-year-old boy from Pittsburgh with second-degree burns. The “Cinnamon Challenge” found people nearly choking to death on mouthfuls of cinnamon. After all, a 4-year-old boy died from inhaling cinnamon powder, reports NBC New York.
And then there were the famous photos of cut lips that circulated around social media after the “Kylie Jenner lip challenge” went viral, and prompted young people to stick their lips in shot glasses that shattered and caused serious cuts, instead of plumping up their lips.
All those concerns make one wonder if the new “Sharpie Shock Challenge” is really shocking people as it appears in the videos — and if so, could the shock from the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” cause third-degree burns? Could the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” cause second-degree burns? Does the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” cause any burns? Or is the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” just a fun way to get a little zap in an unexpected manner?
According to Snopes, the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” started to become popular last month when YouTube videos showed people using a black Sharpie and their phone’s camera flash to shock themselves. The directions of the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” entail placing a phone’s camera lens directly onto the black marks made by the Sharpie marker, but whether or not it truly shocks a person might depend on the person’s pain threshold.
The “Sharpie Shock Challenge” videos show some people who truly do appear to be in pain once the camera flash goes off on their skin. Most of the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” videos don’t show the aftermath of the event — including the days and weeks after the black Sharpie marker’s ink is washed off the skin. One user’s description of her “Sharpie Shock Challenge” video claims that the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” left her vein swollen and red.
What the sharpie shock challenge looks like. What it feels like ????⚡️???? pic.twitter.com/WIbAPM6g74
— Ivona Lakic (@ivonalakic) May 22, 2016
Snopes originally labeled the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” as false. However, since that time, Snopes has changed their review of the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” to unproven, admitting that the challenge could cause a pinching sensation to the skin. Whether or not that pinch would cause any burns remains to be seen.
“Our own tests of the ‘Sharpie Shock Challenge’ had mixed results. One researcher experienced nothing that resembled a shock, but another reported that they felt a small ‘pinch’ of heat when the camera flashed. This may be due to the fact that the color black absorbs heat more quickly than other colors.”
On Twitter, the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” is making waves.
[Photo by Darrell Ingham/Getty Images]