The internet—once believed to be the key to a new era of digital freedom and democracy—hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. Instead, new advances in digital technology have brought us innovative forms of virtual foolishness.
Case in point: the viral challenge.
Recent years have brought bemused netizens a wealth of spectacular videos of millennial and Gen Z video bloggers engaging in all types of crazy, if not suicidal, challenges. Whether it’s the fire challenge, the KiKi-dancing challenge, or the condom-snorting and Tide Pod-gobbling challenges, a range of awful trends have swept across the internet as children and young adults seek online fame—often landing them in the hospital or worse.
And then there’s those challenges that aren’t so much life-threatening as they are simply disgusting. Introducing the #CockroachChallenge.
This latest viral trend has been making waves in Asia after Burmese teenager Alex Aung posted a photograph on his Facebook profile where he is depicted with a broad smile and a massive cockroach in his face.
Aung then threw down the gauntlet to his friends, and the wider online community, to meet his “new challenge.” Lo and behold, his friends did not disappoint—and the photo spread across social networks like wildfire.
Aung’s comment section was quickly filled with grotesque images of teens with cockroaches on their faces. Some even explained how the cockroaches began crawling the moment they placed them on their faces—but this, of course, didn’t stop them from letting the roaches go for a stroll until they took the perfect selfie.
Some users even went so far as to take selfies with a cockroach in their mouth. Others put three to four cockroaches on their face, knowing that the photo would elicit even more interactions, likes and shares.
Cockroaches are more than just a big harmless bug or a nuisance that pops up when we switch on the lights of our kitchen when fetching a midnight snack. They often attack human bodies and spread dangerous germs and bacteria to our food—including salmonella, bacteria, streptococcus and other nasty diseases.
Of course, given that we are in the post-Digital Revolution era, such warnings definitely won’t stop some teens from putting cockroaches on their faces … right?