How to Avoid Social Media Challenge Foolishness


Tide Pods. Hot Coils. Kiki challenge fails. Death by selfie. Walking around blindfolded because of Birdbox (and tripping over things). And that corn cob-on-a-rotating power tool idiocy. And now the Momo Challenge, another version of the Blue Whale challenge, which is claimed to have been the cause behind suicides, though it’s lately been claimed to be a hoax. But even so, many people fall for social media challenges that are just plain dumb. Makes you wonder what drives people to do dumb things?

Momo challenge girl band

But it shouldn’t be a mystery. Much of what fools us often caters to our basic needs, whims and inner desires. Fulfilling these so-called challenges is done as attempts to feel better, although it mostly ends up in feeling much worse, and sometimes being dead (remember when a “human fly” who climbed skyscrapers ended up dead after one slip; well that’s not a challenge, but sometimes challenges could go this far). I would break down the mentalities and how to deal with them this way:

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1. Swallow your pride. Good advice anywhere. Many children are willing to take on these foolish challenges because they believe they can be proud upon achieving them. Problem is, it likely causes more embarrassment, if not disaster. It’s better to avoid unnecessary challenges at all. Life itself is a big challenge, so there’s no point complicating it by taking more. Also, some people do it because they want to be on Youtube. Find a better way to be on video. I would rather learn a new piece of music I haven’t learned before and video myself playing it, review a piece of technology I like, or just talk and talk about issues in the same way I would write here. Taking on a dumb challenge and trying to show the world you can do it takes advantage of human narcissism and entitlement.

2. Stop thinking every new thing you encounter is “cool.” Or better yet, stop trying to be “cool.” Sometimes, people can be fooled to believe doing dumb things can be cool. It goes with pride, and goes with a desire to belong. It’s the same attitude that marketers take advantage of in order to sell us products we don’t need. That is best resisted by a mindset that doesn’t seek to conform to others to be cool. Have an attitude that resists fads and doesn’t care about others’ approval. Unlearn your responses to marketing and advertising if you readily buy into them.

3. Better not “challenge yourself.” Instead just do things you like and are still common-sense. Yes, that’s why some people take dumb challenges, so they think they can improve themselves by just taking on a random challenge with no point. But by doing ridiculous things, they don’t really challenge themselves or anyone; they only show that they’re probably mentally challenged. Better self-challenge with something actually useful, such as more reps in an exercise or try a higher level of model kit to assemble. But that’s something you don’t need to show on Youtube or on social media either. Some people may tease, bully and goad you to do things you don’t want to as “challenges.” Best walk away from those people or do something to keep them away, they are there only to waste your time.

4. Better find a different way to give to causes. Sure, this is a digression of sorts. But I would rather not try even “charity” challenges. Sure, the Ice Bucket challenge for ALS is for a good cause. And I know some people find it fun. But you can give to ALS projects without putting on a show. A better giver doesn’t make a show of giving.

I would also discourage “social experiments.” Some video personalities try these stunts to experiment with the behavior of people, like letting a naked woman strut in public to see the reaction of people. Better not support these things.

The motorized corn-eating about to leave someone with a bald spot

Since children are mostly the victims of these “challenges,” parents have to be responsible and find ways to prevent them from falling victim to all that foolishness. Here are some points to consider.

a. Stop goading children to “belong.” One reason children do foolish challenges is because they believe they should do what their peers do. Even a younger adult told me that they considered wrist slashing because it was a “fashion.” Perhaps it is also because parents still cajole their children to “be like everyone else and do what normal kids do.” Instead, teach them that things should be OK even if they don’t “belong.” Tell them they already belong, they don’t need to do anything special to prove it, except to just contribute to society as needed (such as, get a job). Teach them to develop their own interests and not be dictated by others, you the parent included. All you need do is guide and make sure that the children doesn’t leave the realm of common sense. If your child did fall victim to a dumb stunt, better ask yourself if you created the environment that encouraged it.

b. Stop using folk tales or myths to scare your children into obedience. Once reported scare tactic used in the Momo Challenge is that a monster will eat the victim if they do not comply. Perhaps some parents use monsters to scare their children to shut up or stop them from doing something. If your child fears monsters because of your scare, then you have made them susceptible to people who will manipulate them with the same scare. Stop using monsters or bogeymen to scare children into behaving. Instead, offer them something better to do, such as hobby you know they might like to keep them occupied.

c. Remember to teach your children to be cautious with strangers. I remember the Sesame Street segment that taught this valuable lesson. This is something that shouldn’t be missed out these days, despite how populated our country is.

When it comes to what is making kids weaker these days, the problem is not the technology itself. The problem is the content the technology carries. While technology, such as the Internet, spreads information faster, the information itself contains the same old things of the past: narcissism, arrogance, harassment, sense of entitlement and downright stupidity. These things are not limited to current generations, even the old generations had these problems. This kind of content can’t be addressed just on the online realm; it has to be addressed at the root, which is offline. The online world is only an expanded version of what happens offline.

We have to be discerning and alert on what is happening to our children and ourselves both offline and online. We should be aware of both threats and hoaxes. We should most of all be wary of our own flaws and weaknesses. Social media dumbness takes advantage of our weak minds, so we should strengthen our minds against these things with the proper information and by improving our approaches to life. Or just by sticking to good old common sense.

19 Replies to “How to Avoid Social Media Challenge Foolishness”

  1. For the last 30 years of the Aquino Cojuangco era, the younger Filipino generation, were molded to become: YellowTards. At an early age, they were brainwashed to look at the political opportunist, Ninoy Aquino, Jr. , as a martyr hero; to worship, Cory Aquino, as a saint; and to follow the mentally retarded, Pnoy Aquino, as a “dear leader”, like Kin Jung Un of North Korea.

    It is good, that the Information Technology, has opened the eyes of this present generation. Some became “blogger activists”, others became better citizens.

    As long as the young do not waste their lives on drugs, and do criminal activities. They can do their things. For all of us had been young, and do we had our ways !

  2. I believe the show Science of Stupid encapsulates this phenomenon among younger millennials and post-millennials.

  3. Too much screen time shortens attention span and could affect judgment. Some traditions still offer more advantage over the way we use current technologies.

  4. “Makes you wonder what drives people to do dumb things?”
    Elite mentality is of course a big factor in the influence of these challenges, but I know that some of you out there still could not accept the wrongness of this mentality so I will call it by another name, “God mentality”, with this mentality, of course, you are no longer afraid, you no longer “think” of getting hurt or getting killed, some call it “bravery”, others with more “human” senses call it just plain “dumb”.

    However there are people who take on challenges that rarely normal people will ever do, like being flew up way in to the stratosphere and dropped free fall before parachuting but before this ” act of bravery ” came about, there’s a lot of studying, planning, and designing, in other words, there are these vast amount knowledge in science and technology exhausted in it before they try to make it happen, to make sure of a 100% safety. This is a well thought off bravery, not just bravery on a whim.

    Alan Eustace did it in the name of science, to learn more of what’s out there.

  5. I think its more driven by the boring & dull lives most people live. They are bored and want to do something completely different and new. Hence, the challenge is born. I dont think “pride” has anything to do with it.

  6. I usually just tell my young nephew to avoid cancer in the general internet sphere, especially social media. Otherwise he’ll need to have self-control and discipline in not following any idiotic bandwagon online.

    1. Tenor,
      I really dont understand why you do/did that. Because of interference of/by my GF’s niece, I almost ended the relationship. Isnt it so that the parents of your nephew should and must do what you told him? Must I conclude – based on your remark – that your nephew’s parents are unfit to raise him?

      I have learned that Filipinos are very family oriented but can you pls put your face of other person’s asses? Thanks.

      In short:
      No matter how old, we do NOT interfere in anybody else’s life. I wish Filipino people would stop interfering.

      1. Rob, you can just moralize elsewhere if you’re that condescending enough to bring your terrible personal relationship history into a lesson between trying to mimic something stupid in the internet and having the wisdom and knowledge to ignore it, while you’re reading too much into it like some armchair online psychologist, otherwise you’re pretty liberal in some areas and critical in others when discussing things like eating Tide pods. I really wish you’d control your condescension in the internet, because in short it makes you look like an arrogant condescending foreigner.

        1. Tenor,
          Let me be honest with you. I was really shocked to see what happened between my pinay GF and her niece. We are not talking about a 14 year old. We are talking about 2 mature grown up adults (GF and niece). And even if my GF was 14 years old then its the duty and task of her parents to raise her (and not somebody else).

          So if that is condenscending, so be it. If that is arrogant, so be it. Personally, if I was her dad, I wouldnt allow it (she be raised by others). THAT would be and is embarrassing.

          Maybe, just maybe what might happen is that your dad/mom (probably my brother or sister) will come to me and he/she will tell me to be a man and raise my daughter in a much better way. If, that will happen anyway.

          So again:
          So if that is condenscending, so be it. If that is arrogant, so be it.

      2. Looks to me like you misconstrued Tenor’s giving advice to his nephew as authoritarianism. It isn’t. We older relatives often talk sense and give our two cents to younger people. That isn’t putting our face in front of other people’s asses (wait, is that ass-kissing?). Your comment above might itself be seen as putting your face in front of someone else’s, from another’s point of view.

        1. Chino,
          I probably did. And yes, I understand your final/last sentence/line.

          I am just unfamilair with that. No matter the age of the nephew.

  7. Rob, you didn’t just read too far into my comment that was just about monitoring the media that your kid consumes and teaching them about the internet. You dragged your personal drama in that your idiotic kneejerk response to mine, projected an air of superiority and created some fictional situation like you can psychoanalyzed people online, then finally you generalized many Filipinos with that statement “I wish Filipino people would stop interfering.” I was amazed and confused as to why, but then I get it, you’re one of many closeted bigots with no hint of irony telling people “Stop interfering” you projected your assumptions to me and Filipinos, you aren’t just a condescending idiot, you’re a closeted bigot hiding your soft racism under “criticism” I’m amazed that my comment was read, reinterpreted, then reimagined into an issue he can moral grandstand and do some racism by making a generalize statement afterwards, I suspect your idiotic liberal sensibilities got you all up in regards to the words “Discipline and Self-control” But looking at your doubling down while putting your personal idiocy that doesn’t have any baring with the comment I made and topic at hand while excusing your racism is what I’d expect from many of your kind. Absolute emotional kneejerk response to hide your casual racism.

    1. Tenor,
      I am a big boy now so I can take all your accusations. Thank god, I didnt lower myself to do the same with you.

      Let me try again in a serious way:
      Everything you wrote here above in your latest comment to me, is in fact the duty and task of parents. I think that even Zaxx or Chino wrote a piece about it (parenting) a few weeks ago.
      And yes both your country and my country differ to the greatest possible margin one can possibly find. Not only in laws and constitition but also in culture (habits, customs, traditions, behavior, mindset). I thought I prepared myself quite good when I visited the Philippines for the first time. I was wrong. And then that incident happened. On the 3rd day during my very first visit.

      Pls explain to me why I kept and keep on visiting the Philippines while being a racist, a casual racist?

      1. You can have the last word, you’re doubling down in projecting your personal relationship drama and justifying your casual racism, you can continue to lecture your moralization and idiocy while ignoring the question on why you went really far and personal in reading too much about my comment, if you’re not sidestepping the issue about why you’re not racist, then you’re an arrogant idiot with a superiority complex trying to prove himself right, you don’t see the problem on why you went on a lecture and made a generalizing, and writing about your personal drama history to prove you’re right, that shows you have problems of your own.

  8. The youth have squandered the potential of the internet. With an almost infinite source of knowledge within reach, they have traded the ability to uplift their minds and have instead chosen to trade pictures of food.

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