If you don’t have teens or college-aged kids, you may be blissfully unaware of the Milk Crate Challenge that’s been sweeping the internet, TikTok in particular.
Or at least – it was all over TikTok, until TikTok banned the challenge this week.
What is the Milk Crate Challenge?
You know the plastic crates they use to ship and store milk at schools? (And probably other places too… but I taught high school for a decade and I don’t get out much.)
Stack a bunch of those milk crates into a pyramid shape. Try to walk up one side and then back down the other. “Try” is the operative word here because nearly everybody who attempts this comes crashing to the ground.
Congratulations! You’ve just participated in the Milk Crate Challenge.
If you’re lucky, you still have all your mental faculties intact and no broken bones.
Basically, the Milk Crate Challenge is the latest iteration of teenage stupidity that’s going viral.
There was the water bottle flipping. There was the duct tape wrapping.
And who could forget the Tide Pods and the car surfing (yes, as in “surfing” on top of a moving vehicle)?
And that’s a great segue, because like the Tide-Pod-Eating and the Car-Surfing, this internet challenge is dangerous.
In fact, TikTok has banned milk crate challenge videos because people are getting injured left and right–and up and down (mostly down, in this case).
Some of the challengers have stacked their way to scary heights—leading to dangerous falls and the potential for serious injury.
The app issued a statement this week:
“TikTok prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts, and we remove videos and redirect searches to our Community Guidelines to discourage such content. We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behavior whether online or off.”
Of course, by banning the milk crate challenge, we really mean they’ve banned the hashtag.
TikTok can’t stop people (again, mostly teens and young adults) from doing stupid stuff any more than I can convince my four-year-old that green vegetables are delicious.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
I actually tried to find a ridiculous Milk Crate Challenge TikTok video for this article, so you could see an example of this viral internet jackassery in all its glory. But a search for #milkcratechallenge turns up this auto-generated message from TikTok,
“This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines. Promoting a safe and positive experience is TikTok’s top priority. For more information, we invite you to review our Community Guidelines.”
Fortunately/unfortunately, YouTube apparently doesn’t care.
If you’re curious, you can check out this compilation of Milk Crate Challenge fails, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in just a few days.
Many medical professionals have spoken out publicly to try to dissuade would-be challengers. Dr. Henry Schuitema, of New Jersey, warned,
“So many of these injuries we’re seeing are preventable just by being intelligent… If you catch a corner of one of those crates, it’s going to be problematic. It looks like something funny, but real people are getting real injuries.”
Of course, with the ongoing COVID surge in many parts of the country, particularly the South, many hospitals are already operating at or near peak capacity. There’s not a whole lot of room for emergencies resulting from milk crate tomfoolery.
In fact, a pediatric orthopedist from my neck of the woods, Dr. George Gantsoudes, recently tweeted,
“The orthopaedic surgeries required to fix problems caused by this may fall under the umbrella of ‘elective surgeries.’ Might not want to tempt the trauma gods if you live south of the Mason-Dixon.”
But doctors aren’t the only ones commenting on this bizarre milk crate challenge.
Late night host Conan O’Brien tweeted what it would take for him participate in these shenanigans. Even the FDA decided to weigh in:
This certainly calls into question the whole, “Milk, it does a body good” campaign from the 1980s & 90s, doesn’t it?
If, after reading about this latest “challenge,” you’re wondering how the human race survives, you’re not alone. It seems like every day, people are coming up with new idiotic ways to injure themselves in the name of fun.
On the other hand, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Hmmmmm, I’d like to give that a try,” I encourage you to reconsider. If you’re middle aged, I think this Tweet says it best:
Well, when you put it that way… looks like I’ll be sitting this one out. Guess I’ll have to settle for a nice relaxing night in with my Tums and Saved by the Bell reruns.
We 1980s kids still know how to have a good time.