'Extreme phone pinching' challenge gets people to destroy their iPhones for attention

Sometimes, you've got to just "do it for the Vine" and film yourself crushing a dare — but you probably shouldn't when it comes to #ExtremePhonePinching.

Ohio band unintentionally sparks a new internet challenge for teens with $900 to spare

Extreme phone pinching could very well be the most financially-ruinous internet "challenge" to date if participants aren't very, very careful. (Twitter/@SarahKarakian)

Sometimes, you've got to just "do it for the Vine" and film yourself crushing a dare — but you probably shouldn't when it comes to #ExtremePhonePinching (unless you can afford to buy a new smartphone after dropping yours down a canyon for laughs.)

Parents around the world are panicking this week over headlines declaring that the latest "viral trend" among teens is playing chicken, essentially, with their own expensive gadgets.

And they're not alone.

Browsing the #ExtremePhonePinching hashtag appears to be making many online feel anxious at the sight of iPhones being dangled over the sides of tall buildings, between elevator shaft gaps, or lowered into sewer grates.

On Instagram alone, nearly 400 cringe-worthy videos and photos have been uploaded with the tag, and hundreds more can be found on Vine and Twitter. 

As one user on the latter network explained, "you can only hold onto your gadget using only your thumb and forefinger" to participate in the challenge.

While it's picked it steam in recent days thanks to media coverage, the trend actually sprung up in July after members of the Ohio-based band Twenty One Pilots posted their own pinching videos on Vine.

Those Vine videos were later compiled and uploaded to YouTube, where more than 320,000 people have watched them.

Some of the fans, who later created their own #ExtremePinchingVideos, appear to have done so explicitly to get the attention of band members Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun:

Some fans have gleefully thanked members of the band for their favs on Twitter, but neither Joseph or Dun appear to have actively encouraged people to emulate them online.

After all, the trend they inspired could very well be the most financially-ruinous internet "challenge" some of their fans have ever participated in: 

Like every other predominantly teen-based social media "challenge" trend before it, phone pinching is attracting quite a bit of criticism from people who don't understand why those who participate would risk their devices.

Some say those who harm their phones deserve what they get and that phone pinching is the "dumbest craze ever." Others say that participants are simply using the challenge as a way to show off their beautiful high-tech devices.

Regardless of how they feel, others still are simply using the challenge as joke fodder, providing some welcome relief in the stream for those of us who'd rather watch a phone dangle over a box a crackers than a pit of fire.


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