We all remember the ALS ice bucket challenge going viral to raise awareness about the disease, right? While this challenge was created for a beneficial cause and was not dangerous, many of the challenges cooked up on social media are not. Often they ask participants to do an activity that results in pain or illness. While some of the higher-risk challenges can even result in death. From consuming indigestible amounts of food/drink to snorting substances to burning oneself. All of these activities have been trending over the past few years.
So why do kids and teens participate in such ridiculous and dangerous activities?
One reason is that they want to fit in with their peers. The desire to be accepted is powerful and could lead to risky behavior. Additionally, if a challenge has gone viral and everyone in school is talking about it, the pressure to participate increases. Similarly, kids may want to show off by proving their strength and stamina in completing a challenge. YouTube has many channels with millions of followers, promoting ordinary people to online stardom. Also if these YouTube celebrities are popular with kids and teens and they promote a challenge, their fan base will become interested in trying it themselves.
You may have heard of the cinnamon challenge, in which participants try to eat a spoonful of cinnamon.
This results in lots of coughing and possible choking, vomiting, or inhalation. However, a popular YouTube star, beloved by kids and teens alike, gained a massive 47 million views of the video showing her trying the cinnamon challenge per her fans requests. Some kids record videos of themselves participating in challenges with the goal of popularity measured by the number of views on YouTube.
If you are wondering what types of dangerous challenges are currently trending at your child’s school, ask them!
You can talk with your child about any trends in challenges. Like the reasons why they are dangerous, and how to avoid any peer pressure they may be facing. A great response for your child to say to pressure is, “It’s not worth the risk!”