2018 has barely begun, and yet we already have a meme that has been taken too far. If you haven't heard, the latest viral craze involves snacking on Tide Pods. This isn't a cool new foodie trend you missed; I'm talking literal sacs full of detergent. It's disturbing and dangerous, but thankfully, one media company has stepped up to curb the trend before it gets too out of hand — although some would argue that it already has. YouTube is reportedly removing Tide Pod Challenge videos, because this is the world we live in now.
That's right: YouTube is removing Tide Pod Challenge videos, according to TechCrunch. However, so far, it appears that this only applies to videos that have been reported. A YouTube spokesperson sent TechCrunch a statement that said, “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies.”
When a YouTube channel has a video removed for a policy violation, they receive a strike. If the channel receives too many strikes, they can face suspension. So if you actually needed a reason to not bite into a Tide Pod, there you have it.
At the time of publication, you can still find Tide Pod challenge videos on YouTube, primarily within news segments reporting on the trend and the risks that come with it.
And just what are those risks? According to the National Capital Poison Center, serious health effects of laundry-pod exposure seen in children include severe vomiting, severe breathing trouble, coma, and burns to the esophagus, eyes, and skin. The products have historically been considered a danger first and foremost to children, who may be fooled by the bright colors and plastic wrapping of the pods.
However, as of late, there has been more discussion of their effects on older people. Dr. Marcel Casavant, division chief of toxicology at Nationwide Children's Hospital, talked about the dangers that come with eating detergent. According to Live Science, she reportedly said that the chemicals in laundry pods can cause destructive burns to the esophagus or to the airway, which can lead to serious breathing problems in people of all ages. Adults with dementia have died from eating the pods as well. So seriously, y'all: Do. Not. Eat. Tide. Pods.
Some of you might be wondering how all of this even started. Apparently, it began where many bad things from this strange era start: the internet. However, its origins trace back earlier than the latest wave. In 2015, The Onion published a satirical op-ed from the perspective of a little boy who is desperate to tear his teeth into some Tide Pods.
In 2017, College Humor also satirized the strange allure of detergent pods in a video titled "Don't Eat the Laundry Pods." TBH, the video is pretty funny, but should have served as a warning. The main character, who winds up giving in to his temptation, winds up on a stretcher, despite his cries of, "I don't regret it!"
Toward the end of 2017, the Tide Pod joke evolved into a full-blown meme, as Twitter users began to jokingly discuss their desire to chomp down on the little detergent packets. Timelines were flooded with images of Tide Pods photoshopped into edible snacks, as well as some of our favorite pop culture references.
To reiterate: Do not eat Tide Pods. Do not record yourself eating them. Do not post a video of yourself eating them on YouTube. Do not eat them in the privacy of your own home where no one can see you. Just don't do it, OK?
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