Are viral challenges dangerous?

The so-called challenges, such as the Ice Bucket challenge (ice bucket challenge) or the Bottle Flip challenge (challenge of turning the bottle) are challenges that have their origin in social networks, a space in which they become viral, reaching an international impact.

Among these challenges, some can be considered dangerous and others harmless. This is because in some cases, meeting certain challenges involves putting the personal and physical integrity of the person who wishes to meet them at stake.

Those harmless challenges that can be seen on platforms such as YouTube, the completion or attempt of which does not involve any risk, should not be confused with potentially dangerous viral challenges. But well, in order to determine if these really are or not, you first have to explain why they are so successful.

The success of viral challenges

In the first instance, it is difficult to determine the reason for the success of viral challenges. Some possible answers suggest that they become popular because people feel challenged by them, and because they find in them a way of participation.

From such a perspective, viral challenges would be one of the means that facilitate possibility to actively participate in a collective trend. This is very attractive and significant for individuals, because it implies the transition from passivity to agency.

Likewise, other hypotheses suggest that they gain strength when they are joined by figures of great influence, but also points out that their charm lies in the fact that anyone can join and with it, demonstrate your skill publicly.

In this way, from both perspectives, it can be seen that viral challenges are successful because represent a way of participation and recognition by our fellow men. This is the explanation for their wide dissemination, which is related to the potential danger they can represent.

How to Identify Dangerous Viral Challenges

As we already mentioned, some viral challenges they are not necessarily dangerous. That is to say, because of this, it is not correct to say that viral challenges are dangerous or not. There are so much dangerous viral challenges
What harmless viral challenges.

The question then lies in knowing how to distinguish between one type of challenge and another. But What characterizes dangerous viral challenges? Well, putting the personal and physical integrity of the person who tries to meet the challenges at risk.

When one of these challenges involves damaging the person in some sense, be it physical or emotional, it is possible to call this viral challenge dangerous. Once this is determined, we must turn our attention to another problem: the uncritical spread of viral challenges.

The uncritical spread of viral challenges

While the wide dissemination of viral challenges it does not represent the problem in itself, it is the essential condition that enables certain truly dangerous challenges to reach a large number of people, among whom there may be potential victims.

It happens with this issue, something similar to what happens with fake news or fakes news. These are not necessarily due to the appearance of the internet, but rather to the use of these new tools.

For that reason, the real problem that must be addressed with respect to viral challenges is their uncritical diffusion by large audiences. That is, the fundamental problem is traversed by the education level of the hearings.

As long as an uncritical spread of viral challenges persists, users will share (and perform) both harmless challenges and potentially dangerous challenges, just for the simple fact of participating and being part of a trend.

Relationship with contemporary social changes

If we try to trace the relationship of the success of these challenges with the great social processes, we can point out that Despite the fact that every day we are more connected thanks to social networks and modern means of communication, there is still a certain fragility in the social bond.

Such fragility translates into a tendency for individuals to participate in viral challenges for the mere fact of feeling part of something greater than themselves. Because the traditional patterns of coexistence have been violated, individuals seek to fill that void by participating in new practices.

For this reason, it is so usual and common for people to throw themselves so easily into the realization of challenges with a certain indifference as to whether they are dangerous or not. As the objective of participating in them is
empathize and reinforce the sense of belongingSuch considerations take a backseat.

This could be one of the possible explanations for success of viral challenges today. As can well be seen, on the one hand the disintegrating forces of progress while on the other, internet is presented as a new space for socialization.

The problem ends up addressing the nature of the emerging challenges. It is these that must be attended to and distinguished by the same audiences with the aim that only those harmless are preserved and those that are harmful in some sense are reduced and eliminated.


As outlined in the portal of the Open University of Catalonia, the success of viral challenges lies in the mobilization factor that they imply. These are associated with a certain interpellation made towards the participants, which on the one hand stimulates their sense of belonging.

However, there are not enough reasons to affirm a priori that all viral challenges are dangerous for this reason. The ease with which trends and information spread is what makes it possible to spread dangerous challenges, but this progress is not the problem either.

It is, finally, the inability of audiences to discern Come in harmless challenges Y dangerous challenges what constitutes the real social problem that you have to attend to. Once audiences are educated on this matter, the spreading dangerous challenges significantly.

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