September 18, 2020

Tide pod challenge brainwashes teens

by Chris Mellusi

My parents always tell me our generation is in trouble, and this time they may be right. The consumption of Tide pods has taken over our social media feeds, and I can’t believe it.

Tide pod memes continue to circulate social media. (Instagram)

In the past few years, harmless viral trends like “dabbing” have become popular memes on Twitter and Instagram — but this latest trend could put you in the emergency room. Kids across the country have decided that to become viral, they will risk their lives and eat Tide pods, which contain a poisonous dose of detergent and stain fighters.

The trend started as a joke, but as pictures of Tide pods paired with food began to circulate, talk of actually eating the pods began to pop up on social media. The memes even evolved into pictures of Hot Pockets filled with the colorful pods.

Once the meme caught on, it was only a matter of time until someone decided to actually ingest a Tide pod.

I think it’s disturbing and bizarre,” said Lauren Hardman, a junior nursing major. “The only explanation to why kids are eating Tide pods is to get attention. I doubt anyone has eaten a Tide pod without the intention of (posting) the video on social media.”

Popular Instagram accounts such as “Barstool Sports” and “Total Frat Move” post videos of college students eating the detergent pods. In the hopes that they will be featured on such accounts and become famous on the internet, impressionable young people record themselves eating Tide pods and post the video online for the world to see.

In 2017, there were over 12,000 calls to poison control centers in regard to the consumption of the detergent pods, according to The Washington Post.

In the first month of 2018 alone, The American Association of Poison Control Centers has already dealt with 39 cases of kids calling about what to do after eating a Tide pod, according to TIME. The AAPCC believes that this year, they will receive a record breaking number of calls regarding the pods.

Tide has tried everything in its power as a company to warn people about the dangers of eating its product. The company released a video of New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski repeatedly saying “no” to eating Tide pods on Twitter. But students at the College are skeptical of its effect.

“I don’t think that video is going to stop kids from eating them,” said Jake Andersen, a senior finance major. “When I see Rob Gronkowski, I usually think of him doing something exactly like that. I think they went the wrong route there.”

Tide had to turn to its parent company, Procter & Gamble, for help.

“We are deeply concerned about conversations related to intentional and improper use of liquid laundry pacs, and have been working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content that is not consistent with their policies,” Procter & Gamble said in a statement, according to TIME. “Laundry pacs are made to clean clothes. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke. Like all household cleaning products, they must be used properly and stored safely.”

Some colleges, such as Wentworth Institute of Technology, have released statements to remind students of the hazards of consuming Tide pods.

“It has come to our attention that there have been cases of teenagers and college students all over the country jumping into a new trend called ‘The Tide Pod Challenge,’” said Amber Goulart, Wentworth’s Coordinator of Wellness Education, according to Boston Magazine. “We would like to remind students of the health dangers in ingesting liquid laundry detergent packets.”

No cases have been reported to Campus Police regarding this matter, according to interim Chief of Campus Police Tim Grant. Hopefully, the trend will not take hold on our campus.

“Honestly, I can think of a million things I would rather do than eat one of those laundry detergents,” said Jake Newman, a sophomore finance major. “I can only imagine my mom’s reaction if she heard that I had eaten a Tide Pod and was in the hospital. She would ask me to move out of our house.”

While students at the College fortunately have yet to partake in the trend, some have witnessed friends take on the “challenge.”

“I would never eat a Tide Pod,” said Sam Klomp, a sophomore engineering major. “I actually saw a kid eat one when I was visiting a friend at another school last semester. They were all laughing, but I was extremely confused. I didn’t find it funny.”

I can only hope that no one at the College attempts this ridiculous stunt — I would be embarrassed to say that I personally know someone who tried to eat a Tide Pod.    

Students share opinions around campus

“Do you find ‘The Tide pod challenge’ funny?”

Jeremy Sussman, a junior history and secondary education dual major. (Emmy Liederman / Opinions Editor)

    “It’s pretty funny to laugh at people’s stupidity. If you eat a tide pod, it’s on you.”

Meaghan Pannasch, a freshman psychology major. (Emmy Liederman / Opinions Editor)

“It’s so weird and dumb. I don’t understand it. I saw an article that said they break down your body.”

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