Recent years have shown that online ‘challenges’ can quite quickly go viral on social media and pose numerous risks to your children. This is where a challenge or dare is posted online with an open invite for anyone to partake, posting back their video-recorded attempt at whatever challenge was posed. Most are harmless (i.e. eating hot peppers) but some can be life threatening.
This post aims to educate you on those that are dangerous and what can be done to protect our children from them.
Dangerous Social Media Crazes
- The Kylie Jenner Challenge: you suck on a glass to get fuller lips. People have cut themselves after the glasses broke and some have even swallowed bits of glass.
- The Warhead Challenge: you attempt to eat 150 warheads (incredibly sour sweets) in 10 minutes. This can make your tongue bleed and some have even lost their sense of taste altogether.
- The Salt and Ice Challenge: you pour salt on a part of your body and then hold ice on the salt which creates an extreme burning sensation. Due to the chemical reaction, this can cause third degree burns.
- The Choking Game: when you restrict oxygen to the brain it can cause a temporary high. This has resulted in brain damage and death for some unfortunate kids.
- Snorting Condom Challenge: participants try and snort a condom through their nose and pull it out through their mouth. This has resulted in suffocation as the condom is lodged in the windpipe or swallowed.
- The Fire Challenge: pour a flammable liquid on your naked skin and light it to see how long you can last before putting it out. Needless to say people have resulted in some horrific burns as a result.
- The Blue Whale Challenge: this is one of the most sinister and dangerous of all the challenges. It has resulted in hundreds of deaths across the UK, US, India and Russia. Originally created by a 22 year old Russian man who is mentally unstable, he believed teenagers are "wicked" and did "not deserve to live”. He created a game that was designed to push teenagers through a series of 50 tasks with the final task being suicide. You need to perform one task a day and these include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours, designed to get gradually more extreme.
What can be done to protect our kids?
The simplest way to combat these kinds of risks is to talk to your kids;
- Educate them on what kinds of things to look out for. Run through a few of the less scary examples above. Ensure you provide a balanced view (most challenges are safe) – try not to be inadvertently scare mongering.
- Emphasize the importance of them making their own decisions and not simply following the crowd or bowing to peer pressure.
- Teach the benefits of saying no and being assertive with their own friends.
To find out more detail on how you can have these kinds of conversations with your kids, see this post here which is specifically dedicated to Educating our kids on cyber issues.