In Bullying Stories, Trending & Viral

Ice Bucket Challenge, A Good Cause Or A Bullying Platform?

Let’s get one fact straight. There is no harm in having some laughs for a good cause. But we couldn’t help realize that some people doing the Ice Bucket Challenge are being bullied into doing it or, worse, bullied for not doing it. Neknomination, anyone? It is in an excellent cause and has raised a lot of money for charity – as all internet crazes we need to keep things in perspective – ensure the core point of the charity is highlighted and enjoy the fun!

What is Ice Bucket Challenge?

The premise of the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in late June 2014, the ALS Association, (Lou Gehrig’s disease) used the Ice Bucket Challenge as means of receiving donations for the association and for research and treatment of ALS. The idea was simply that people are challenged by others to video record themselves while, first, announcing their acceptance of the challenge followed by pouring ice into a bucket of water. The bucket is then to be lifted overhead and poured over the participant’s head. Then the participant can call out a challenge to other people.

It is expected out of the person accepting the challenge to donate $10 if they have poured the ice water over their head and donate $100 if they refuse the challenge. Now that is a version that sounds like a winner, the charity is getting money either way and people are having a laugh or two. What I understand so far from watching far too many ice bucket challenge videos on youtube, that some people figure getting ice water dumped over them is in lieu or in replacement of the donation. That is just, a bucket of ice water over someone’s head for no point what so ever.

On August 29th, ALS Association announced receiving over 100 million dollars compared to $2.8 million during the same time period (July 29 to August 29) in 2013.

Celebrities went onto the ice bucket challenge wagon, from Former President George W Bush to Bill Gates, everyone is getting ice water over their head, although, most celebrities forgot to share the actual donation information in their videos, which negates the actual purpose of the whole thing. Only Charlie Sheen and Bill Gates pointed out in their videos where people should go to give donations to the ALS Association or other foundations needing donations.

The fear here, like any social media phenomena, it starts with a good cause, a few laughs, then ends with someone being harassed and bullied into it. Searching the #icebucketchallenge hashtag on twitter will reveal boys and girls all over the US being called obscene names by their friends if they announce they won’t do the Ice Bucket Challenge.

So, What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that damages nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons typically reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. When affected by ALS, the progressive degeneration of the motor neurons eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

In the UK, Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is the British name for ALS, MND is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. The MND Association Ice Bucket Challenge has also drawn British celebrities all performing the Ice Bucket Challenge and asking for donation to help cure MND and help the patients suffering from MND. 

Here is a video of Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge and asking for donations to be made to the MND association.

We believe this new trend calls for the power of celebrity all over again, celebrities need to make it clear in their videos that this is for a good cause and no one needs to be harassed or bullied for refusing to go for the Ice Bucket Challenge. Doing a good cause should never be stemming from bullying, don’t you think? It is great to see so much money being raised for charity and highlighting a good cause, it shows when the internet is used for good things it can work, and change the world. We just need to be careful that the Neknomination style craze does not take over, in saying this – it has been refreshing to see the power of the internet viral movement being used for such a good cause. 

A closing question we have been asked – has anyone been physically hurt, injured or worst in an Ice Bucket Challenge?

There has been 1 death attributed to this craze in the UK in mid August  – as per this news release. The police reported that the 18 year old man took part in the Ice Bucket challenge before entering a water filled query not to come back out.

Also the online website, highlights some earlier fatal incidents occurred before the ice challenge became a social media trend. At that time, the challenge was the drinking game “neknominate”, which of course has nothing to do with the charity trend at the moment, apart from the feature of friends challenging friends.

According to research:

■ In July, a 40 year old New Zealand man died of a heart attack hours after participating in what was then called the “cold water game” or “ice challenge. which involved drinking alcohol and then completing a challenge.

■ Also in July, a German man was crushed by equipment on a building site after heavy machinery tipped during a neknominate challenge. Several others were injured.

■ In June, a French teen drowned in another online challenge after tying a bike to his ankle and diving into a body of water.

We have also seen articles where people have been injured trying to complete an Ice Bucket challenge – the sheer number of these can be seen by typing “Ice Bucket Challenge” and “Fail” into YouTube.

September 7th Update:

An autistic boy went into a traumatic experience as a result of wanting to participate in an ice bucket challenge in Bay Village, Ohio.

Reports broke out on how a group of high school students tricked their autistic classmate into participating in an Ice Bucket Challenge video while, in fact, the bucket with filled with urine and feces.

The video, made available by the boy’s parents to raise awareness about intolerance and bullying, shows the boy tricked into dumping the bucket over his head. The video was shot via the victim’s phone and later went viral on social media via accounts that are currently under investigation.

So our final advice regarding the Ice Bucket Challenge, is don’t feel pressured into doing it, remember it is for charity – so do donate if you can. Above all else – be careful and don’t put friends under too much pressure to follow suit. It is clear that this trending craze for 2014 has been the most successful global charity fund raising ever – judging by how our Facebook feeds have been filled with hundreds of videos of people taking part.

So do let us know in the comments – did you take part? If yes or no – tell us why!

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