As featured in Good Growing
It’s important for parents and kids to talk about the dangers of viral ‘challenges.’
These dangerous stunts can involve ingesting things, such as biting into a liquid laundry pod or eating an intensely hot pepper. Other challenges can include dares that urge kids to get high or faint by taking several antihistamines, hyperventilating or through choking.
Some challenges circulating in schools push kids to steal items such as the restroom soap dispenser or a teacher’s coffee cup. There are also dares that involve shoplifting specific items from a grocery store.
Not surprisingly, many of these challenges are designed to create sensational social media, urging kids to capture their stunts on video and share them online. These viral moments, however, have caused serious injury among youth, school suspension or even arrest and prosecution.
Social media often glamorizes these kinds of stunts, so tweens and teens can feel the temptation to try them. Youth do not always think through the real risks or consequences, and stunts that seem silly or fun can result in injury. This is true for games like the ‘duct tape challenge,’ which boasts the goal of escaping after being bound by friends in the super-sticky, heavy-duty tape.
With new challenges popping up all the time, even level-headed kids can get pulled in, so it’s vital that parents talk with their children often. These challenges are a great example of why a key goal of parenting is to help kids develop critical-thinking skills and sound judgment. Thoughtful conversations and positive role-modeling are powerful tools. When kids understand the risks and potential consequences, they can make wise decisions and avoid bad situations — even when you’re not with them.