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When my father was in second grade, a fellow student dared him to walk across a wooden board that spanned a large puddle after a heavy rainstorm. To the crowd’s amusement, the board snapped when he was halfway across, submerging him in murky water. Soaking wet, embarrassed, and tearful, he had to call his mother from the principal’s office to ask for a change of clothes. So starts a story told by one of this article’s authors (E.M.M.).
Playground rites of passage—daring feats and failures—go back to the dawn of, well, the dawn of playgrounds. For the Millennial Generation and today’s Generation Z, schoolyard dares have spread to social media. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are platforms for these fads and a conduit for virtual peer pressure. In an Internet dare—dubbed a “challenge”—someone posts a video attempting a task and calls on friends to replicate it.
Marchionne EM, Cashman MW, Norton SA. Trending. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(1):50. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.3681