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Parents- do you know what your kids have been up to online? If they enjoy participating in online challenges you should be keeping a close eye on them. One slip in judgment could put your child in the hospital…or worse.
Viral challenges have been overtaking the internet for years. Some of the challenges are good-natured, looking to raise awareness and funds for deserving causes such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, supporting the ALS Association. Unfortunately, most of these challenges are created purely for attention and competition, with the possibility of serious injuries or even death as a result:
Viral challenges are taking the lives of people all over the world, teens serving as the most highly influenced population. Challenges generally fit into one of four categories: funny, food, physical, and frightening.
Just because a viral challenge is meant to be funny, doesn’t mean it is. Kids trying to gain a few laughs from online admirers are getting injured in the process, some even permanently:
Food challenges can range from disgusting to downright dangerous. But for some reason, teens are finding it hilarious to watch each other ingest foods that are either not meant to be eaten or are being eaten incorrectly:
Pushing your body to the limits in some cases is considered admirable. In the case of these viral challenges, the ‘push’ is unnecessarily dangerous:
These challenges are popular among teens because they are known for being dangerous. Injuries and death are almost a given with these types of games. Here are only some of the many challenges parents should be vigilant of:
What is it about viral challenges that make teenagers so vulnerable and naturally addicted to dangerous behaviors? In an article published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), psychologists and neuroscientists report that the teen brain develops the incentive/reward system before the cognitive control system. Their want for attention and to stand out far exceeds the need to stay safe, which puts teens in a risky position when it comes to viral challenges.
Trouble controlling impulses, understanding long-term consequences, and realizing their own vulnerability to risky acts clouds teenage judgment especially when paired with social pressures. They don’t necessarily understand or believe what could go wrong with dangerous challenges, only considering what could go right at the moment. Teens with little online supervision are much more likely to participate in dangerous and deadly challenges- what can parents do to help?
Parental influence can be extremely beneficial when it comes to deterring dangerous behaviors such as participating in risk viral challenges. The more information we provide to our kids, the better their chances of thinking twice before they light themselves on fire or jump out of a moving car.
An article released by Parent Info provides suggestions for parents looking to help prevent their teens from unnecessary injuries due to careless social media challenges:
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