The craziest internet trends and challenges over the past 18 years

Every week it seems as though there is a new trend, meme or challenge going around the internet. For the majority of these, once they die, they are never brought up again. However, there have been a few challenges and trends that will forever be remembered by the youngest generation, some of which have given this generation a bad reputation.

  The original internet challenge, that is still completed today, is the Cinnamon Challenge. The Cinnamon Challenge is where someone will take a spoonful of cinnamon and have to swallow it, without drinking any liquid. Although it seems easy, this challenge is actually very dangerous. The spice causes your mouth and throat to dry out, which makes it very hard to swallow. Because it is so hard to swallow, coughing and choking will usually occur, causing cinnamon to be inhaled into the lungs. Several teens have been hospitalized due to lung collapse as a result of trying to complete the challenge, since the very first attempt was posted to the internet in 2001.

  After 2001, there were not really any notable internet challenges because of how limited social media was. It wasn’t until 2013 that the internet exploded with new versions of the Harlem Shake Challenge. This was a much safer and more entertaining challenge than ingesting cinnamon. In the Harlem Shake videos there would be one person dancing on their own, to the song entitled “Harlem Shake,” in a room full of people going about normal, everyday business. However once the beat drops, the video cuts to everyone in the room dancing and going crazy, usually complete with costumes, masks, and props. One of the most viewed Harlem Shake Challenges, on YouTube, was the one completed by the Norwegian Army, with over 124 million views to date.

  The next popular internet challenge was known as the Fire Challenge. The Fire Challenge is still probably the most dangerous challenge and is one that evolved during its time on the internet. Originally, those who were trying to complete said challenge would douse themselves in lighter fluid, gasoline, or some other highly flammable liquid. They would then proceed to light themselves on fire and see how long they could stand the heat. This challenge was big back in 2014, however, the video that inspired it was uploaded in 2012. After people realized how dangerous it was, the people adapted the challenge to where after lighting themselves on fire, they would immediately jump into a body of water. Thankfully, this trend is not one that has made any sort of comeback since it died out five years ago, however it will always be burned in our memories.

  The next major challenge was also in 2014, and that was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This originally started as a way to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS. According to, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that usually causes the connection between the brain and the muscles to weaken. The Ice Bucket Challenge was extremely popular among celebrities, teenagers and adults, and was where someone would dump a bucket of ice water on their head, and then challenge a few of their friends to do the same, which would cause the challenge to spread. Some played it so that if someone nominated you to complete it, and if you didn’t, you would have to donate money to the ALS Association. Since it found fame in August, the ALS Association declared that August would be ALS Awareness Month.

  The next major trend on the internet was nowhere near as beneficial, or fun. In 2015, reality star Kylie Jenner got lip injections. In order to mimic the then 17-year old, internet users created the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, which consisted of people taking a small-rimmed glass, typically a shot glass, pressing it against their lips, and sucking so that it would create a vacuum seal between the glass and the lips. People would hold it there for a little bit, and when they pulled the glass off, their lips would not only be bigger, but they would typically swell up to an unnaturally large size and there would be bruise type marks around the lips. This challenge was also dangerous because sometimes the shot glass being used would shatter, due to its lack of flexibility, causing cuts and and scratches that sometimes required stitches. Unfortunately, Kylie received a lot of backlash for this challenge, despite never promoting or suggesting that anyone try and use a shot glass to get bigger lips.

  A personal favorite of mine, is the next big internet trend, the Mannequin Challenge. Popular primarily among teenagers and sports teams, this trend was where someone would slowly walk around a room while everyone else would be frozen in the middle of what they were doing. The song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd would usually play in the background. This challenge found fame towards the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. Several NFL teams even posted their own versions of the challenge, including but not limited to, the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants.

  The past thirteen months have brought four popular trends. The first was short lived, and about as pointless as the Fire Challenge. Known as the Tide Pod Challenge, mainly pre-teens, would film themselves eating a toxic Tide Pod. That’s it. That was the challenge.

  The next challenge was called the In My Feelings Challenge and was where people would dance to Drake’s “In My Feelings” alongside a moving car.

Tweet from Netflix US Twitter account, @netflix

  The last two challenges are still going on in January of 2019 and they are the Bird Box Challenge and the 10 Years Challenge. The former is based off of one of Netflix’s newest original movies, “Bird Box”. For a lot of the movie the characters are blindfolded, so in this trend, people are blindfolding themselves and then going out in public and trying to complete normal tasks. Because of the possible risks that could come with being blindfolded out in public, Netflix issued a warning asking participants to be smart about when and where they do the challenge, in order to prevent injury. The 10 Years Challenge is by far the calmest of all the challenges. This is an internet trend that is popular among all ages where people are posting a picture of themselves in 2009 and a picture of them in 2019, in order to show off their transformation.

  As long as the internet and social media continue to grow, there are bound to be

more trends and challenges that will surface. Hopefully, they will be fun to watch and participate in, and there will be fewer challenges that could possibly end in death.


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