Stupidity, the Worst Virus

Kabir Vega

HAVANA TIMES — The media is the result of progress made over many years seeking to spread information quickly, from and to every nook and cranny in the civilized world. The Internet and TV have been two of the greatest achievements made in this regard, however, just as a tool can be used for good, it can also be used for bad.

While TV is almost completely made up of superficial programs which only numb people’s intellect, it has the advantage of being controlled to a certain degree. The Internet, on the other hand, is free and very easy to use, allowing humanity to reach new levels of stupidity and share these on a massive scale.

Why am I being so cutting? Everyone is free to be who they want to be and it isn’t right to look down on someone because of their intelligence. But, not taking care of your own life is an abominable act.

Challenges are a trend right now which involve provoking users to do a set thing. Sadly, this challenge is never anything healthy, on the contrary, it’s not even safe a lot of the time and results in mortal danger sometimes.

I have even found out about a couple of very seemingly simple challenges here on this offline island:

One: put a spoonful of cinnamon in your month and keep it in there for as long as you can. It’s a horrible feeling as it dries out your throat, creating a suffocating need to cough.

Just watching it isn’t any fun at all, but the challenge spread and resulted in the death of a 4-year-old boy who found it tempting and decided to give it a go.

Who’s responsible? The parents for not having looked after their young son properly or controlling the things he was watching. However, everyone who uploaded a video of themselves taking on the same challenge are also responsible, as their participation influenced the child.

Another one: the “Condom Challenge”, a bit more complicated. It involves filling up a condom with water and a second person lets go of it while standing above you as if it were a water balloon. If it’s done “right”, your head ends up trapped in a ball of water. In spite of being able to pop it quite easily, the feeling you have of drowning shows the latent danger at hand here. Even so, the challenge spread and led to the death of a 17-year-old girl and other cases.

This time, it wasn’t a child who died, but someone who was old enough to recognize the risk at hand, so it’s sad to see what the price they had to pay to copy a trending fetish was. The worst thing was that the same friend who had helped her do the challenge, was laughing so uncontrollably that she didn’t realize what was going on and didn’t do anything to try and save her.

However, these are just two examples of the infinite number of dangers that many young people are voluntarily subjecting themselves to.

The Parkour Challenge is another one and is very popular. It involves running around the city avoiding all kinds of obstacles (walls, balconies, stairs, cars, heights, etc.). No matter how attractive parkour might be as a sport, many people have accidentally died as a result both on and off camera, whether that was because they overestimated what they could do or because of a small slip-up they didn’t foresee. People who like climbing high places without any protective equipment have also been victims. And those who do acrobatics to increase the risk factor, even more so.

It must be hard for parents, as every generation seems to take the potential dangers of these “challenges” (which don’t prove anything by the way) less seriously. Any attempt to teach them is rejected, but stupidity is spreading like wildfire. Maybe it’s in human nature not to value their life, or maybe the education of general society, or the media, doesn’t know how to teach us to appreciate something as invaluable as life.

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