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DEBBIE NORRELL

OK, what’s with the challenges? Normally I don’t enter into the challenge game. I wasn’t going to pour cold water on my head or eat a spoonful of cinnamon or put my bare arm on an electric stove. None of that makes sense to me. But a lot of people got involved.

This latest challenge, the bird box challenge, is absolutely ridiculous. If you have not heard about it let me fill you in. You put a blindfold over your eyes and do crazy stuff like drive a car or ride a bike. The challenge was inspired by the Netflix original starring Sandra Bullock. People have even been walking along a train track blindfolded. Who does that? And why? For bragging rights perhaps, or to become a YouTube sensation.

How about that Tide pod challenge from last year. It was one of the craziest things I ever heard of and also goes into the category of who does that. Why risk getting sick or going to the hospital. That might be a hospital visit that the public has to pay for. “Anything for a thumbs up,” appeared to be the mantra behind the madness, though creators are after views to boost their revenue off ads, as well.

I did get involved in that first profile picture/current profile challenge. I thought it was fun and harmless. However, a local news station did a story saying it leads to face recognition by your electronic devices. Don’t our devices already do that? The purpose of the challenge was to see “How Hard Did Aging Hit You?” In the case of most of my Black friends it turned out to be the “good black don’t crack challenge.” People looked just as good if not better than they did 10 years ago. Especially if there was a weight loss.

Speaking of weight loss, I did get involved in a few of those challenges, they were actually closed and only certain people could see your before-and-after weight. We had to get on a scale and take a picture of the display weight. I think a lot of these stunts have been inspired by the fact that everyone has a video camera or camera at their fingertips. Let’s make up some ridiculous challenge and make it go viral. Next thing you know you’re on the news or on YouTube or maybe at the morgue.

YouTube was also keen to make it clear that it doesn’t allow pranks “that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatized for life,” adding that it’s been working with psychologists to develop guidelines around the kinds of setups that go too far. The company said it’s giving creators two months to review and clean up their content. During this time, challenges and pranks that violate its guidelines will be removed if its team gets to the banned content first, but the channel will not receive a strike during this period. If a creator disagrees with a strike, they can appeal against it.

(Email Debbie at debbienorrell@aol.com.)

 

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