Memes, rants, viral stories- and the latest trend to take over the internet, the challenges. Be it YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Vine or Instagram, once the hashtag starts getting popular, every one gets infected.

Over the last decade, the internet has seen various challenges. Some of them were harmless, like the #tryNotToLaugh challenge on Vine, where people made a fool of themselves in order to make the viewers laugh, or the  “Draw YouTubers” challenge on YouTube, where, like the name suggests, people, sometimes blindfolded, drew other YouTubers. These were obviously entertained to elicit a few laughs here and there.

Some of them, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or the SNAP challenge were created and popularized to spread awareness and raise donations about the disease amyotopic lateral sclerosis, or the unfairness of using food stamps.

However, there are some challenges people accepted without realizing the aim of, and completely changed its meaning, like the #dontJudgeMe challenge currently trending Vine and Instagram. In this challenge, the users post photos or videos of themselves with drawn-on unibrows, acne or other physical features often the targets of body shaming. Then, they wipe off their “flaws” to reveal what’s underneath. This originally was supposed to highlight how one should not judge a book by its cover, what jewels can be hidden beneath unappealing appearances, but as the trend popularized, it backfired, instead creating an impression of what’s likely to be accepted in society and what’s not.

And yes of course, there are some meaningless and harmful challenges, including the Boiling Water challenge, the Fire challenge, the Salt and Ice challenge, which people proudly (and stupidly) take part in.

Asking why do people accept these challenges (and sometimes risk their lives, and the safety of others around them) would be similar to asking why do people follow the latest fashion trends or why do we sometimes forcibly laugh when we don’t get a joke but everyone else in the group is wiping tears of laughter.

We as human beings, even though we’d never admit it out loud, like birds flying in a flock, or sheep moving in a pasture, we follow the pack. It’s not our fault! It’s been hardwired into our nature, since prehistoric times, when not following the what the rest of the tribe did would mean imminent danger. Similarly, in the online age too, people do anything to be accepted, to be “popular” and gain views and likes and followers. Even if it means rubbing salt on bare skin and placing ice cubes on it to receive the pleasures of a frostbite.

We, at M.A.D would definitely encourage our readers to take part in the sane challenges (please focus on the word sane), provided that you are aware of the true meaning behind pouring a bucket of ice water on your head. And if its for awareness or charity, its a green signal from our side.

Let us know in the comments below what you think about such challenges, and if you took part in them, how you changed the world.

Lets Make A Difference,