The Food and Drug Administration issued a serious warning about the dangers of cooking chicken in Nyquil cold medicine.
What do you get when you cook chicken in Nyquil? Apparently, you get something videos on a social media platform called “Sleepy Chicken.” You also run the risk of getting something much worse.
Honestly, when I first saw the headlines from numerous news outlets about the FDA warning people against attempting the silly culinary concoction, I thought it must be a joke. But I didn’t need to check a calendar to determine that we were nowhere near April 1.
So the obvious question became this: How would the FDA come to issue a warning about two items no reasonably intelligent person would ever mix?
The answer turned out to be a familiar suspect. The idea of cooking chicken in Nyquil came from TikTok. Yes, it was among the latest of mindless social media challenges.
I remember that classic answer we heard as children when we said we’d been urged to do something stupid.
“If they told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?” Back then, our answer was always no.
Nowadays, I’m not so sure.
I actually worry that we as a people have become so collectively stupid that we can watch a video like that, depicting a ridiculous idea, and somehow think it’s a good idea to try it ourselves.
School administrators blamed a series of TikTok videos for students vandalizing school bathrooms. Other TikTok videos called for people to try to make themselves faint by restricting their own airflow. Another had people covering a mirror with Vaseline and lighting it on fire, then putting out the fire with thaeir hands or “other body parts.”
The list of dangerous — potentially deadly “challenges” — goes on.
The scariest thing is, thought, people actually did these things. They tried them. They thought, for some reason, they were a good idea.
Why couldn’t they fathom that parroting what those challenges involved was a truly horrible idea?
It’s easy to place the blame on TikTok.
By now, TikTok should have a team whose job it is to watch for dangerous videos like these and eliminate them before they have the chance to go viral. Supposedly, most of the “sleepy chicken” videos have been purged. But given the popularity of these “challenges,” the platform should be watching for any sign of further dangers.
It should act immediately. While some social media platforms place a priority on fact-checking — and you can argue how sincere that priority is — this one ought to place a priority on safety.
That won’t be a popular opinion. After all, we value our freedom of speech no matter how dangerous it can be.
But there comes a point at which protecting people, even from themselves, should take priority.
If people can’t see that something like cooking chicken in Nyquil could harm them, we’ve reached that point.