Social media challenges have been injuring unsuspecting participants since the infamous ice-bucket challenge days, and likely before that. Some now are not designed to raise funds for charity. They are meant to hurt willing and unwilling participants. One new one involves extremely hot water, and it is leaving some children hospitalized.
Take the example of an 11-year-old girl from the Bronx. She was not aware that her friends were going to pour scalding water on her. The incident, which happened on Monday, left Jamoneisha Merritt with burns on her face, shoulders, back and chest.
The stunt, called the “hot water challenge” involves dumping hot water on someone who isn’t expecting it. The police are getting involved, too, and have arrested a 12-year-old girl in this instance and charged her with felony assault.
In other versions of the stunt, people try to drink boiling water. Merritt, though, was not a willing participant. She was actually asleep when her friend dumped the water on her.
“She’s very sad. She’s emotionally messed up. She don’t understand why they did that to her. She thought they was her friends,” Ebony Merritt told a local news station.
“I was told that they didn’t like her. 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.’”
An 8-year-old Florida girl, Ki’ari Pope, died in July after she drank boiling water through a straw. In that instance, a cousin had dared her to it. She was treated for her burns, but she was home and experienced complications from the incident and died.
Pope and her cousin had reportedly watched several videos on YouTube before they attempted the stunt.