If you’re a parent of a teenager, you’ve no doubt tried to have a conversation with a kid who was staring down at their phone, immersed in the world of social media. There are plenty of things you can do as a parent to protect your kids online, but it all starts with awareness. While some social media challenges, like the tide pod challenge, garnered national media attention, these types of activities keep popping up to varying degrees of visibility. The following popular social media challenges can pose great risks to your teenagers.
In this challenge, kids film themselves rubbing an eraser on their skin for as long as they can stand it. The eraser challenge might sound relatively benign, but it has the potential to be dangerous. The longer they put up with the pain, the more serious the burn-like injury they develop. In addition to being painful, there is a potential risk for infection and scarring.
Compared to the eraser challenge, the dangers of the kiki challenge seem quite scary. Also known as the “In My Feelings” challenge, this one originated after an internet comedian named Shiggy posted a video of himself dancing alongside moving cars to Drake’s hit song “In My Feelings.” The internet responded with videos of people stepping out of moving cars and dancing alongside them. This has resulted in many injuries, including people dancing into stationary objects, tripping on potholes, falling out of cars, and even being hit by moving vehicles.
Blue Whale Challenge
The blue whale challenge is certainly the most alarming of all the social media challenges we’ve mentioned. Not only can it lead to death, but it also relies on bullying and blackmail. It works like this: an administrator finds a participant/victim, hacks their phone or computer, and uses the threat of releasing embarrassing information to get participants to complete increasingly dangerous tasks, which culminate in the participant dying by suicide.
Open communication and awareness are the most important tools you have to protect your child from harm. Frequently talk to your child about the dangers of social media, take advantage of privacy settings, set limits, and watch for warning signs of bullying and cyberbullying. If you’re worried about your child’s social and cognitive development, or if you have discovered that your child is being bullied, Woodburn Pediatrics offers an array of mental health services to help support your child with the resources they need to live up to their full potential.