Tech & The Web

Viral ‘Outlet Challenge’ a Dangerous Idea, Firefighters Warn


If you have any doubts about the rise of stupidity in our society, look no further than a so-called outlet challenge on social media.

If common sense doesn’t tell you it’s a bad idea, then I hope you and your home can survive the “Outlet Challenge.”

The idea is to partially plug in a phone charger, then drop a penny between the charger block and the wall, so that the penny makes contact with the prongs. What’s supposed to happen is a big show of sparks.

Commons sense surely tells you that what likely will happen is a major fire hazard. Possibly even a life-threatening one. The challenge also creates the potential for electrocution, as if burning down your home isn’t bad enough.

Think about it: some people actually seem to think this is a good idea.

In Boston, two high school students face criminal charges after the ill-advised stunt led to damage of eight outlets.

When I read about something so outrageously dangerous, I wonder how it could have come to life at all.

Maybe someone actually tried it — or accidentally accomplished it — and decided to see if anyone else would.

Or maybe someone knows how dangerous it is and decided to post the challenge to see if anyone is dumb enough to try it.

And in our world, there’s always someone dumb enough.

Plymouth Fire Chief Edward Bradley told CNN it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

And Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey sent a letter to fire chiefs to encourage them to spread the word about the danger.

Maybe one day, we’ll wise up so such efforts won’t be necessary.

At least, we can dream, right?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.