The Importance Of Talking To Your Kids About Dangerous Social Media Trends

Once upon a time, parents were able to breathe sighs of relief whenever their children returned home from being out with friends. We considered our homes to be comfortable and safe locations. In 2024, one can be in the so-called comforts of home but still be presented with numerous dangers. Social media has enabled our kids to contact and communicate with total strangers. Far too often, those unfamiliar faces encourage participation in dangerous trends.

Why are teenagers enticed by social media challenges?

Vying for acceptance is a common activity for teenaged children. Social media is fraught with those who base their self-worth on the accumulation of likes and comments on their posts. In addition, the taking up of odd challenges has become part of what the young mind often thinks is necessary to collect cool points.

“Teens’ brains are still developing,” says, “The part of the brain that handles rational thought, the prefontal cortex, is not fully developed until the mid-20s. This means teens are naturally more impulsive and likely to act before thinking through all of the ramifications.”

What types of challenges have caused harm to children?

The Tide Pod Challenge. Tide is a brand name that is well known for its laundry detergent. Its compact and convenient pods are widely used in washing machines for the obvious intent of cleaning clothes. In early 2018, an online dare to eat the pods became popular. Needless to say, Tide Pods are not edible and are, in fact, poisonous. They can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea among other even greater side effects including seizures and respiratory system issues.

The NyQuil Chicken Challenge. Another shocking example of social media gone wrong, this was the foolish suggestion to cook chicken using Vicks’ cold and flu medication. Becoming popular on TikTok in 2017, this challenge exacerbates the dangers of misusing medication. The risks associated with improperly ingesting NyQuil include breathing problems, dizziness, hallucinations, seizures and even death.

The Blackout Challenge. This particular challenge, which originated back in 2008, has a simple instruction which produces dire consequences. It calls upon participants to hold their breath until they pass out. Obviously, stopping the intake of air is incredibly dangerous. In many cases, losing consciousness due to restricted breathing can clearly lead to death if the person is not quickly resuscitated.

What approach should you take when speaking with your kids?

We know. The stupidity of these challenges is glaring. It’s vital to keep in mind, however, that your children are simply trying to fit in with their contemporaries. While their means may appear ridiculous, their need of love and acceptance is only human. Spend time with your children to make clear that they shouldn’t be doing anything that puts their bodies in danger. Show empathy for their concerns and make clear that you are there to support them in their times of need.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to SOS 4 Kids for help! We offer a number of safety courses for kids that can help them to better manage their online safety. They include Home Alone Safety For Kids which is suited for children aged 9 to 12 years old. As well, we offer the My Safe Life program for children aged 7 to 10.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-844-373-1024 or email us at [email protected]. You may also fill out the form on our Contact page!