Most people have heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It aims to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain - by getting people to pour a bucket of ice water on themselves, then upload a video of it onto social media and nominate six others to participate in the campaign. Anyone who fails to take up the challenge within 24 hours must donate US$100 to the ALS Association.
However, the challenge has been criticised, as many people take part to avoid making a donation. Nonetheless, it raised US$13 million for the ALS Association within a month.
Perhaps the best way to make the challenge a win-win situation is to both donate and participate, so that we can make a difference to those suffering from the disease.
Florence Li, Downe House School (UK)
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Florence. The Ice Bucket Challenge reminds me of the no-make-up selfie craze that flooded social media earlier this year. Some people refer to this kind of phenomenon as "slacktivism", and the people who do it, "slacktivists": in other words, they're portraying themselves as activists, but not really doing anything concrete to help the cause.
But, if nothing else, these campaigns do raise awareness of a cause. They mean more people are reading the news about, researching, and becoming better informed about these issues. I'm sure very few of us had heard much about ALS before this latest trend.
As you say, maybe the best thing, if we are going to participate in the trend, is also make some sort of contribution to the cause. Whether that's a donation, or volunteering, by taking part in these challenges and acknowledging the reason they're being held, we can help spread the word about these causes.
Karly, deputy editor