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The worst internet trends of 2018, 2017, and beyond

From foolish to possibly fatal, these are 10 internet trends we'd rather forget

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The internet can be a powerful stage for new ideas and movements. In recent years, it has been home to countless trends and initiatives, including #MeToo and the March for Science, as well as acting as an invaluable platform to garner donations for important causes.

Some internet challenges, like the Ice Bucket Challenge (which reached its heyday back in the summer of 2014), help raise money and awareness for diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Challenges like this are capable of doing a lot of good thanks in part to the power of the internet.

Not all trends are so praiseworthy, however. Some are ill-advised or downright dangerous, and only exist to amass likes and views online. From eating Tide Pods to feather eyebrows, these are the worst trends to ever emerge from online culture.

Kylie Jenner lip challenge

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No matter how you feel about the Jenner/Kardashian family, we shouldn’t have to tell you that it’s not a good idea to attempt the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, which has people sucking into a shot glass for several seconds to temporarily increase the size of their lips. And while YouTube videos or pictures of people completing this challenge may be enticing, you’re actually damaging your lips and skin as result of it. So while Jenner’s iconic pout may be desirable for a lot of people, the pain, swelling, and risk of permanent scarring associated with this challenge don’t make it worth its short-lived effects. Besides, Jenner has admitted to using lip fillers.

Tide Pods

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The Tide Pod Challenge likely emerged from a few nihilistic memes surrounding increased cases of children ingesting detergent. However, it soon became a real issue, with poison control centers across the United States receiving over 80 calls related to teenagers eating the colorful laundry pods in the first few weeks of 2018, according to PBS. And while actual instances of young people eating soap have tapered off since then, a new Tide Pod-inspired food trend has risen from its ashes. Which doesn’t make much more sense than eating the real thing, but at least it’s not poisonous this way. Because, seriously, who thought it was a good idea to eat actual detergent?

Cinnamon challenge

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The Cinnamon Challenge is another viral internet trend where people dare one another to eat a spoonful of ground cinnamon without drinking anything. Even though it may seem innocent enough, this challenge has some serious risk associated with it. From coughing and gagging, inhalation of cinnamon, to an increased risk of pneumonia and a collapsed lung, eating that much powdery spice is far from risk-free. Even if you do manage to choke it down, it’s not going to be fun, so why try it? Take our advice: Leave the cinnamon on your spice rack. You’ll thank us.

Colored foods

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When your doctor told you to eat the rainbow, this isn’t what they meant. And while we get trying to spice up your Instagram account from time-to-time, we’re not sure how anyone would find these dishes appetizing. In many cases, these colored foods are chock-full of artificial dyes and coloring. And while it is possible to naturally dye foods with ingredients such as beet juice or spinach, we’re still not sure why you’d want to. It’s probably not going to change the actual flavor of the food, and you’re just going to end up coming back from your lunch break with a colorful tongue.

Weird eyebrows

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Instagram has been home to countless fashion and beauty trends over the years, but the worst among them is weird eyebrows. We get it, styles change over time, and we’re all for it — when it works. People like Cara Delevingne can totally pull off a full-bodied brow, but no one should be racing to style their eyebrows like Christmas trees. Other weird eyebrows we’ve seen are feather brows, barbed wire brows, squiggle brows, and Nike brows (yup, like the Nike swoosh). Even if they’re just a joke, the punchline is getting old fast. Groom your eyebrows if you want, but make sure they still look like actual eyebrows.

Glitter, glitter everywhere

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You’ve just come home from the craft store, opened your new bottle of metallic glitter … aaaand it’s everywhere. While a little glitter can be pretty and add a bit of sparkle to your latest art project, we don’t understand everyone’s obsession with it. From glitter on the top of your head to cover your grown-out roots, to glitter in your beard, on your lattes, and all over your butt, it’s too much. There are new types of biodegradable glitter, but the cheap stuff is still made from plastic, which is not only bad for the environment, but a pain to clean up. So, maybe just tone it down a little.

Parent shaming

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Being a parent is not only frustrating, but exhausting. So when your child misbehaves, and misbehaves, and misbehaves, embarrassing them online often seems like the only way to make them listen to you. But shaming your children online can have long-term effects on their mental health and haunt them later in life. Not only do Benjamin Button haircuts, holding humiliating signs, and smashed belongings put your child at greater risk of being bullied online and off, do you really want a potential employer or new significant other to have access to that sort of stuff?

Condom challenge(s)

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While it might seem a lot like the water balloons you used to throw at each other when you were kids, please don’t drop a condom full of water on your friend’s head. That’s not a good prank, that’s a good way to murder someone. Assuming it doesn’t break when you drop it on their head, they now have a latex helmet full of water stuck around their head and mouth, which can be slippery and difficult to remove. While we’re at it, don’t snort condoms either. It can very easily block your airway or cause you to choke. You don’t want to be that person who died because of a condom, right?

Duct Tape challenge

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Plenty of people have wrapped their friend’s gifts in duct tape and watched their recipient struggle to open them. It seems like innocent fun, but wrapping your friends in duct tape is an entirely different story. Assuming they’re sitting in a chair or standing when you tape them up, if they fall, not having access to their arms to prevent their fall could lead to broken bones or a concussion. If they’re sitting down, being trapped in tape could still trigger panic attacks associated with anxiety or claustrophobia. Wrapping your friend in tape is definitely not the way to win the Best Friend Award.

Salt and ice challenge

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The Salt and Ice Challenge requires participants to hold a piece of ice on a portion of their body covered in salt. This combination causes a burning sensation and people compete to see how long they can withstand the pain. While the average temperature of an ice cube out of your home freezer is about 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit (and will continue to rise as the ice melts), adding salt creates a chemical reaction that can drop that temperature below zero, which will cause burns on your skin similar to frostbite. While this challenge may seem the most like the Ice Bucket Challenge, you won’t get recognition for anything other than not knowing how science works.

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Brie Barbee
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brie is a writer from Portland, Oregon. She received a bachelor's degree from Portland State University in 2016, where she…
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