The Tide Pod Eating: This is Actually an Issue

This 2018 trend has resulted in skyrocketing calls to the American Association of Poison Control Centers
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Photo courtesy of Kyle T. Perry/Shutterstock
The Tide Pod Challenge is a dangerous trend in 2018 that poses serious health risks, including death.

Never in my life did I think I’d be writing about this, but here it goes. Let me preface this by saying using Tide pods for anything except washing clothes is, for lack of a better word, stupid. It poses a serious health risk due to poisonous chemicals that aren’t meant for consumption. This trend originated in a very strange way. I have no idea why it became popular, but the fact of the matter is that it’s here and needs to be discussed.

The age of social media has given rise to some great things, some bad things and some very outrageous things. This is one of those crazy ones.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported a skyrocketing number of cases related to the Tide Pod Challenge. I’ve found that most people who engage in this activity tend to only do so when a camera is pointed their way. Most people don’t find these capsules appetizing in any way, but they eat them anyway in hopes of gaining fame on the internet. They see videos trending on Twitter showing people doing this and they think, "Well, maybe I can be trending too." Surprisingly, eating Tide pods isn’t the dumbest or most dangerous activity people will engage in for similar purposes. Some people will attempt to cheat death for a like and find themselves on the losing end. It is important for us to stress to kids, teens and adults alike that risking your personal well-being just to be a trending topic is never worth it.

Whenever a trend like this comes up, peer pressure always seems to be a main contributor and this case is no exception. The desire to look cool or tough in front of friends can sometimes be overwhelming and cause one to overlook his or her personal safety. I know I have done some stupid things for a few laughs in the past, and I probably will find myself doing the same things in the future, but never something as dangerous as the Tide Pod Challenge.

It is important to stress to kids and teens — especially the kind of kids who will only be friends with you if you eat a tide pod — that these people are probably not the type you want to hang out with. Now, cutting off friends like that it is easier said than done because we all want to be well-liked, but sometimes it is important to take a step back and get your priorities in order. Is it more important to have that one friend like you more or feel more included in that one group than to have normal body function? Is a possible death not enough of a deterrent? These are important questions to ask whenever you find yourself about to take any sort of dare — not just taking a bite out of a detergent pod. Worthy friends wouldn't want to see you in pain, whether it’s funny or not.

The emergence of this poisonous fad has brought about a storm of concerns for the mental well-being of this nation, specifically the youth. Although I do believe you would have to have a pretty weak grasp on reality to do something like this, it may be easier than you think to succumb to the pressures from friends and the idea of being on camera. Hopefully anyone who finds themselves about to eat a Tide pod will take a moment to think about how little they have to gain, and how much they have to lose.

Alex Baker is a senior at Apex High School. He plays basketball and lacrosse, and is also a member of the school's Academy of Information Technology.


Categories: Education, Health + Fitness, Parenting, Teen Scene, Teens