Eating Tide pods, the ‘forbidden fruit’: Natural selection?

Emma Wikle

Note: This is a really old trial column I have. We’ll only run it if we have to. I’m waiting on more columns.

Head: Eating Tide pods, the ‘forbidden fruit’: Natural selection?

By:  Emma Wikle 

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2018 was supposed to be a better year than last year. However, so far there’s been a government shutdown, mass shootings and school shootings, and now: the Tide Pod Challenge. Teenagers and young adults have been eating Tide Pods for the meme and posting videos of them doing so on different media outlets. There have been actual videos of people biting into real Tide Pods and letting the water-soluble membrane break in their mouth and therefore allowing the toxic chemicals into their mouth as well. The trend has gotten so popular that Tide had to issue multiple press releases and even a video of Rob Gronkowski reminding people to not eat their Tide Pods. 

This Internet trend isn’t the first weird and risky one to circulate social media. Many dangerous sensational activities have swept networking sites, such as the Cinnamon Challenge and Bath-Salt Challenge. Each trend gains popularity and becomes a way to gain followers on social media as popular Youtubers as well as lesser-known Youtubers and Twitter personalities participate and post viral videos.

According to the New York Times, in the first half of January alone, 39 cases were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers of teenagers being exposed to the chemicals within Tide Pods intentionally. This trend is dangerous and like its predecessors, the Cinnamon Challenge and the Bath-Salt Challenge, can lead to hospitalization in the name of creating social media content. In the Washington Post, Youtube began removing videos of people participating in this challenge because of the danger associated with it.  

Is this “Forbidden Fruit” trend part of a bigger issue? Doing increasingly crazy things with the intention of gaining followers or pressure to post funny content has recently led to greater problems. Logan Paul’s irreverent and insensitive video filmed in a Japanese forest known for the number of people that commit suicide there is one example. Social media has the ability to impact large groups of people and if that power is abused, millions of people can be affected. When the shock-factor becomes more important than sensitivity and morality, there’s much more at stake in the constantly-changing culture we’re a part of as users of social media. 

The Verge states in their article about the Logan Paul controversy that the real problem with social media stars relevant to culture at the moment is a carelessness that is borderline dangerous to society. Young adults and children are influenced by Logan Paul and other online celebrities like him while those Youtube stars and Internet personalities are merely concerned with capital gain and “entertaining” without concerning themselves with the real price at stake: the young minds paying attention to them or looking up to them as role models. 

Before you post something think of the platform that you have. If you have younger followers or just stupid friends you could speed up natural selection by unintentionally causing someone to eat one of those fruit-gusher looking Tide Pods. Use your platform for good. And, for the love of God, please stop eating Tide Pods!