I’m going to assume that most people who come to this blog have heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge – essentially, it is one of those social tagging games, where you ask three friends to do something silly, and they have to ask three friends. In this case the silly thing is to dump a bucket of ice water over your head and post a video of yourself doing it. This incarnation of the Challenge was created by former BC athlete Peter Frates to raise awareness of ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and encourage donations to the ALS Association. All noble and for a good cause- in fact, it has been reported, as this Challenge spread throughout the Web, that more than $4 million dollars have been raised, compered to less than a third of that in the same period last year.

What does this have to do with Newton?

I found out about the Challenge through my son. I didn’t know at the time that it was based on cause awareness, but just another silly dare- I admonished him not to make a mess, and to PLEASE not post “vertical video.” I was not surprised that dozens, if not more kids, were doing the Challenge, but as I came to realize it was supposed to be for ALS awareness and fundraising, I noticed that while many (not all) of the videos mentioned “als challenge,” not one had a donation link. There was no awareness as to why these kids are doing it.

This is not a way of saying our kids are not socially aware, but it does point out that every day we have opportunities to point out to our kids why things are being done and what good they can do- an opportunity I regrettably missed this past weekend. I’m not against silly Internet memes and kids having fun, but I can’t help having this feeling it could have been done better.

Have you noticed anything similar with kids (or anyone) and the Ice Bucket Challenge? Do you feel the same way – or disagree?

Side note: an online discussion of the effectiveness of the whole Challenge, started by my much less specific question on Facebook (“Are raising awareness or annoyance?”) sparked a remarkably civil conversation. i was so taken aback by the high level of discourse and low level of vitriol that I wrote a blog post about it.

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