Neither new nor viral: the dangerous challenge of throwing boiling water

The challenge, known as the Hot Water Challenge, emerged in 2013. In 2017, there have been three casualties in the United States

The challenge known as the Hot Water Challenge emerged in 2013. In 2017 there have been three casualties in the United States
The challenge known as the Hot Water Challenge emerged in 2013. In 2017 there have been three casualties in the United States

The dangerous practice of the Hot Water Challenge has just acquired the category of “new viral challenge” in the headlines of the world press. It consists in throwing on a person or on another person a pot of boiling water by the head, the macabre version of the viral challenge that was popularized in 2014 and that was to throw a bucket of frozen water to raise awareness about the disease of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (THE A). Another interpretation of this challenge involves drinking a glass also with boiling water. At least one girl has died and two other children have suffered burns this summer, allegedly victims of this practice. However, the Hot Water Challenge is not new and, because of the number of victims affected, it does not seem viral, either.

The three cases known so far have occurred in the United States. The warning jumped the headlines in English – and weeks later to those of the press in Spanish – after last August 6 Jamoneisha Merritt, of 11 years, was entered in the hospital Harlem, of New York, by severe burns. The girl, who was participating in a pajama party, suffered while sleeping a friend’s attack, which threw a glass of boiling water over her head. Jamoneisha’s mother, Ebony Merritt, said on her Facebook page, where she published photographs of her daughter with a burned face, who believed that the child had been a victim of the Hot Water Challenge viral challenge, although this has not been confirmed.

A few days earlier, another eight-year-old Ki’ari Pope, a Florida resident, had lost her life because of the aftermath of the challenge her cousin had challenged her six months ago: drinking a glass of boiling water . At the end of August, 14-year-old Nickolas Conrad made public the pictures of the burns his friends had inflicted on him after boiling water in his sleep.

“The new viral challenge that has already caused deaths,” has been the most widespread headline, but although the three cases mentioned are real, calling the practice of “viral challenge” that threatens any child anywhere in the world seems excessive and little adjusted to reality. In Spain, according to sources of the National Police, no complaint has been filed with the Hot Water Challenge and there is no police alert to prevent children from throwing pots of boiling water among them.

And it is not a new challenge either. Many of the videos that appear on YouTube, and with which have been illustrated the news published in these weeks, are of 2013 and 2014. And although it is true that in a few recordings the protagonists are hurled apparently very hot water, many of the videos are obvious parodies of the Hot Water Challenge.

What do you think?

Written by Geekybar

Linguist-translator by education. I have been working in the field of advertising journalism for over 10 years.

For over 7 years in journalism. Half of them are as editor. My weakness is doing mini-investigations on new topics.


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