By Samantha Allan
Internet memes are a popular form of entertainment these days. Memes often become popular when a picture is labeled in a way that draws a quick laugh or directly connects to a reader’s thoughts or opinions.
Each month, a new meme floods social media as it gains popularity in a short amount of time. Starting off the new year, a meme has appeared expressing the desire to eat laundry detergent pods. With their bright colors and shapes, the pods are being compared to a candy or fruit snack that you might pick up at a local grocery store.
While this may appear to be a lighthearted joke, this particular picture is encouraging people to try eating the pods in real life. Weeks after the meme spread across the internet, videos and pictures have emerged of the “detergent pod challenge.” This challenge involves what you might expect. A large chunk of the younger population are trying to eat them.
The videos are spreading much like the “cinnamon challenge” that flooded the internet a few years back. The audience is watching these videos to laugh at the person’s reaction to eating something that is not meant to be eaten.
Please do not eat these pods. They are far more dangerous than a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Laundry detergent pods contain concentrated soap and have been reported to cause immediate health risks. Thousands of cases have been reported of children who have consumed the pods.
Rachael Rettner, senior writer for Live Science, said, “the most common effects of pod exposure were vomiting, coughing/choking, eye irritation or pain and drowsiness. A small number of children experienced coma, seizures, breathing problems or stomach burns,” in her article “Thousands of US Children Eat Laundry Pods Yearly.”
While these effects are reported on children, the chance of dangerous consequences remain. It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the latest trends. Internet challenges gain attention quickly, and often encourage others to seek out their five minutes of fame. However, the health risks attached to this challenge are simply not worth the risk.
I have never had any interest in taking part in this internet challenge and encourage readers to avoid it at all costs. Please leave the laundry detergent pod meme in pictures, and keep it out of the real world. You could put yourself in danger and possibly imprint the behavior onto a younger child that really does not understand the risk.
There are many positive ways to gain attention that do not involve tasting concentrated soap. Stay safe out there. The next trend will appear soon enough.