What is the Tide Pod Challenge?
If you have been anywhere around social media this week, you may have heard about the viral and baffling trend known as the Tide Pod Challenge and wondered what it could possibly be. Like most viral trends in the past few years, this is one making the rounds among the teenage and pre-teen crowd, and experts say it is uniquely stupid and dangerous.
This internet dare calls on participants to eat a Tide detergent pod — the small plastic pouches filled with laundry detergent that are placed into washing machines. There are already a number of videos showing young people participating by popping the colorful packets into their mouths and chewing, filling their mouths with caustic and likely poisonous chemicals.
Needless to say, the Tide Pod Challenge is drawing some sharp warnings and confusion from experts.
“They don’t always have the comprehension at 13, 14, or 15 years old of lifelong consequences,” Dr. Karen Jenkins, medical director of the Piedmont Medical Center emergency department, told WCNC. “It’s toxic soap chemicals that these teenage children are putting into their mouths. These are people who are going out and actively going to look for them to ingest them. I cannot believe that people are doing this.”
But people are doing it. There are already dozens of videos of people taking the Tide Pod Challenge circulating on YouTube, some with tens of thousands of views. Many of them note that the video shows the Tide Pod Challenge “gone wrong,” but, as commenters point out, there is no “right” way to eat laundry detergent.
There is some criticism among experts and parents on social media that YouTube would allow these dangerous videos to show up in the search results. While the top few videos under a search for “Tide Pod Challenge” are warnings about how dangerous they are, the first page of search results is still filled with people actually taking the challenge.
The bright and colorful Tide Pods have been causing controversy for a few years, USA Today noted. Because of the multi-colored design and no obvious smell of chemicals, some toddlers have mistaken the pods for candy and ingested them, the report noted. In 2017 alone, poison control centers received more than 10,500 calls for children under the age of 5 investing the detergent packets, the report noted.
Experts say the Tide Pod Challenge is a good opportunity for parents to remind their kids that it’s dangerous to knowingly eat poison.