Back in 2014, a man named Peter Frates started a challenge that went viral and raised over $115 million for ALS research.
People from all corners of the globe, including celebrities like Carrie Underwood and Bill Gates, poured buckets of icy water over their heads to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease.
While the Ice Bucket Challenge was gaining traction, another lesser known and far more dangerous trend was brewing.
A 16-year-old posted a video on YouTube in which he was seen pouring a pot of hot water over his head before jumping into a swimming pool. Three years later, the video has resurfaced and has started what is now being referred to as the "Hot Water Challenge."
The scary challenge has parents on alert after kids across the country have been reportedly dousing themselves or their friends with hot water presumably after learning about the trend through the internet.
Over the years, people on the internet have come up with all kinds of harmful "challenges," but this one is by far one of the most dangerous ones.
In early July, a 10-year-old boy named Wesley Smith suffered second and third-degree burns after partaking in the challenge with his stepbrother. The North Carolina schoolboy needs skin graft surgery to repair the damage to his body.
A few weeks later, an 11-year-old girl, Jamoneisha Merritt, was left with severe burns to her face and neck after another girl poured boiling water over her while she was asleep at a friend's house in Bronx, New York.
"I was told that they didn't like her," her mother explained, "and they just been bullying her. They've been on Snapchat. It's been going on several times. The girl admitted it. 'I don't like her. I wanted to do it.'"
Perhaps the most tragic of them all is the story of Ki'ari Pope, an 8-year-old girl from Florida, who was dared to drink boiling water through a straw by her cousin and died a few months later on July 31. Prior to her death, she had to undergo emergency surgery to clear the scar tissue on her windpipe so she could talk and breathe.
Following the latest string of incidents, the original video's poster updated its caption with a disclaimer:
“THIS IS FAKE. The water I dumped on myself was pool water and the sizzling noise was a sound effect I edited. I made this video when I was 16 years old in 2014 when literally EVERYONE was doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I thought it would be funny to add some satire to the epidemic that was social media trends. Clearly, some people did not realize this, and today in 2017, kids are dumping boiling hot water on each other. I had no intention of influencing anyone or condoning this ‘hot water challenge.'”
Despite the warning, there have been more burn cases reported.
Unfortunately, social media is a contributing factor to the challenge's popularity and according to Julie Romanowski, a Vancouver-based parenting expert, "it’s not going to stop anytime soon, and parents need to take a proactive approach to teaching kids how to manage it.”
“Kids need to be validated through likes and views, and unfortunately, there is no moral code with technology,” she told Global News. “Parents need to do more than just manage the content their kids are viewing. They also need to know how their child is using technology and whether there’s an addiction forming.”
If you have a child who is active on social media at home, it may be a good idea to advise them to avoid taking part in the Hot Water Challenge or any other internet "challenge" for that matter.