August 12th, 2013 | The Blog
So, what is the Cinnamon Challenge? Simply stated, a person swallows one tablespoon of cinnamon without drinking any fluid. This is done, preferably, while being videotaped. Then, the video is uploaded to the Internet for all to view. Only then is the Cinnamon Challenge complete.
While it might sound like an easy task, it is not. Why? The main issue is that the cinnamon coats and dries the throat. This triggers a severe gag reflex. After coughing, gagging and vomiting to accomplish the feat, most people are okay. Some people end up exhaling cinnamon through their noses after the frightful gagging session.
Others are not okay with the challenge because there is a great risk of the cinnamon clumping up and clogging the airway. Those who are not as lucky end up with cinnamon in their lungs, which causes wheezing, pneumonia and potentially serious lung damage.
The Population of Participants
Adolescents are the main group who are up to the challenge. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of calls regarding the Cinnamon Challenge to Poison Control Centers around the country, according to the journal, Pediatrics.
Adolescents have brains that are still maturing, especially the frontal lobe, which is the last area to mature. The frontal lobe controls a person’s insight and judgment. Without mature judgment skills, adolescents can make bad decisions, like participating in a Cinnamon Challenge. This is not a smart life choice.
Social Media Impact
There have been thousands of YouTube videos, Twitter mentions and Facebook likes about the Cinnamon Challenge. There are more than 40,000 Cinnamon Challenge videos on YouTube.com, one of which has been viewed more than 19 million times, according to the recent study in Pediatrics. This social media frenzy has sparked an increase in the challenge participation.
So What is the Problem?
Is the real problem the Cinnamon Challenge or is the root of the issue the social media frenzy that it has created? It is both.
The physical challenge is dangerous and can be deadly.
The social media aspect simply creates more peer pressure and social acceptance issues.
It is not easy being an adolescent in this crazy world. Although there are other age groups who participate in the Cinnamon Challenge, this is the largest group represented. The young adults in our lives need guidance and frank discussion about what is safe and what is not.
Parents, adult role models, pediatricians and others need to be on cue with what is trending in the world of adolescence and take every opportunity to keep our children safe.