Planking: Innocent fun? Or growing menace?

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From the minds of the bored spring many memes that come to fruition in the dark recesses of the internet. Some are damaging, and others are just plain weird. Planking is a phenomenon that was supposedly born in Europe and Japan in the early 2000’s and has since gained popularity after becoming an internet meme, or trend. This act requires the participant to lie flat on their stomachs, arms rigidly held against their sides, with their legs also stretched out.

The official rules of Planking:

1. You must always lay face down, ensuring your face remains expressionless for the duration of the Plank.

2. Your legs must remain straight, and together with toes pointed.

3. Your arms must be placed by your side, held straight and fingers pointed.

4. You must make it known that you are Planking. Saying ‘I am Planking’ usually get this across. Sternly announcing it will ensure a good result.

5.  Your safety should always be considered. Properly thought through Planking procedures should always go to plan. Never put yourself at undue risk.

6. Every Plank that is captured must be named.

(rules taken from official Planking Facebook page)

The goal is to do this in a random, preferably public space, and be photographed. Plankers then share their photographs online with other plank enthusiasts. But this seemingly harmless, inane activity has gained a lot of bad publicity recently after an Australian man, Acton Beale, fell to his death last week when attempting to plank on the balcony of his apartment.

With planking’s growing popularity, there has been a desire for Plankers to be photographed in more and more outlandish places. This has led to Plankers seeking out illegal or potentially illegal spots to ‘plank.’ Australian officials warm that Acton Beale’s death could be the first of many if this dangerous trend doesn’t end, or at least if Plankers don’t practice more caution. For now this trend has been popular overseas, with Australia and the U.K really leading the way. But it seems inevitable that the trend will soon reach our shores, and when it does hopefully Plankers learn from their foreign peers and practice more caution.

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