Anything for fame

Kids setting themselves ablaze for Internet fame in ‘fire challenge’ video craze, authorities warn. Daily Democrat, August 4, 2014.

A short article on an alarming new craze among kids: They light themselves on fire, video themselves douse the flames and post the episode online. The purpose is ostensibly a few minutes of media celebrity.

Many factors are afoot here, including peer pressure, an immature sense of good judgement, perhaps a tendency toward risk-taking, which is common in kids, and other variables like an unrealistic sense of the dangers of fires as they’ve viewed many in films and TV and on video games, and it always looks like fun.

The problem here is that for some kids who take up this so-called ‘fire challenge’, this confluence of factors actually ends in they’re being badly burned.

To be sure, kids have been doing something like this long before the birth of the internet, like leaping off bridges into shallow rivers or driving too fast while drinking. But the internet has added other factors into the mix: In a celebrity driven society, many kids want a piece of this celebrity, and the ‘fire challenge’ seems a good way to make a big splash, no pun intended.