We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—these viral Internet challenges need to be stopped. There are so many dangerous challenges these days that we can’t even keep count.
There’s the deodorant challenge, the hot water challenge, the Tide Pod challenge, the salt and ice challenge, and many others. And now, there’s a new challenge floating around YouTube, and it’s possibly one of the worst ones of all.
It’s called the “fire challenge,” which involves pouring rubbing alcohol on your body, setting yourself on fire, and filming it so that you can put it out there for others to do. We have no idea how these challenges get started, but this one really makes us scratch our heads. Even young adults should know better than to literally set themselves on fire.
Unfortunately, when a teen sees other people their age doing something and not having any consequences, they figure they’ll be safe too. But that isn’t always the case. Take 12-year-old Timiyah Landers, one of the first fire challenge victims to land herself in the hospital.
After completing the fire challenge, Timiyah lays in a full body cast in the hospital bed awaiting a very, very long recovery likely involving several surgeries over the course of a few months. She suffered second- and third-degree burns all over her body and now is on a ventilator and needs a feeding tube.
If that seems bad, know that she’s actually lucky to be alive. Thankfully, Timiyah’s mother, Brandi Owens, was home at the time she did the challenge, and may have saved Timiyah’s life.
Brandi said Timiyah was in another room when she heard a popping noise. Just a few seconds later, she witnessed her 12-year-old daughter come running down the hallway fully engulfed in flames. She “looked like a fireball,” Brandi said. “She was yelling, ‘Help me.’ ”
Owens, along with her fiancé who was there at the time, were able to get Timiyah into the bathroom and into the tub, dousing her with cold water. In the process of doing so, Brandi ripped off the burning clothing with her bare hands, burning herself in the process—yet she didn’t even realize it at the time.
“I was reaching through the fire,” she said. “It was like a reflex. I didn’t even feel the fire, I was just saving my daughter.”
Once the fire was out, Brandi quickly got her daughter in the car and drove her as fast as she could to the nearest hospital. She had no idea what was happening at the time, but when she learned that Timiyah was performing the fire challenge, she was pretty upset, as any mother would be. However, Brandi can understand the reasons why young people like her daughter might try something like this, even though it seems insanely stupid .
“When they look on YouTube, they see, ‘Oh okay, wow, I want to try that, the outcome with him was okay,’ ” she said. “Some kids know their right from their wrong, but they can still be curious to try something, to say that they tried it.”
For more on Timiyah’s story, and to hear from Brandi herself, as well as more information on the fire challenge, check out the interview below.
What do you think of the fire challenge, and all the other idiotic teen challenges that circulate the internet? Do you think video sites should ban these from others seeing them? How do you think we can reduce the number of teens who participate in challenges like these?