This social media challenge is sending kids to hospital. Is yours safe!

This social media challenge is sending kids to hospital. Is yours safe!

Some bizarre 'dares' are better left ignored! At least that's what I gathered from what THIS new social media challenge is doing to kids. Toe curling, this!

Just like every coin has two sides to it, even internet and social media come with their pros and cons. It’s what we make of it that matters. Of late, the trend of acting on social media challenges is fast catching up. It doesn’t matter how bizarre or pointless, if there is a social media challenge, one has to accept it. At least that’s what it looks like.

However, this strange dare, which incidentally has made a comeback, is nothing less than dangerous, as per this report. Kids have landed in the hospital with chemical burns, bruises and scars after participating in this challenge which is trending now. Called the ‘salt and ice challenge’, it calls for children to place salt and ice together on their skin. It’s resulting in a frostbite-like effect on the skin as salt lowers the temperature of ice to as low as  - 17 degrees celsius. Apparently, because of the redness and numbness from the ice, kids often don't realise that they are giving themselves potentially second-degree burns.

Another scary part of this dare is to see who can tolerate the pain the longest. Not only are the children proud of it, they are even flaunting the burn pictures on social media as proof. Crazy, eh? The things peer pressure can make children do these days ranges anywhere between bizarre to downright scary. As parents, how do we know, and worse, explain to our kids about how much is too much when it comes to following a social media challenge so blindly?

The results #saltandicechallenge #whogotitworse

A photo posted by ΣRIΠ MΔCLΣΔΠ (@_erin_maclean_) on

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. You’re constantly working and looking after your kids. Their health and happiness are your number focus. We also understand that after a certain age, for kids and teens, social media becomes an integral part of their lives. However, it is as integral to draw a line between what is acceptable and what is just plain foolish. As parents, there are certain things we can do to make our kids aware and responsible of their social media escapades. Here are some pointers:

  • Cyber bullying and online harassment: Tell them that bullying or being mean in the virtual world is unacceptable. And just as you can’t be mean to others, others can’t be mean to you. Ask your kids to always keep you in the loop about any harassing or bullying messages that others may post.
  • Stranger-danger even in the virtual world: Reinstate this time and again that unless you know the person, do not add them to your friend list. It’s not safe and there are no two ways about it.
  • Avoid the ‘herd’ mentality: Explain it to them that just because ALL your friends are doing it, doesn’t mean it is right or needs to be followed. Think of the repercussions and decide whether it’s worth letting peer pressure dictate your life.
  • The virtual world need not know everything: Where you ate or went out with friends or where you intend to go partying need not be there on the internet for the world wide web to know. You never know, what can be used against you and when.
  • Educate about privacy settings: Privacy settings are important, and to highlight their importance, go through the settings together to make sure your kids understand each one. Also, passwords must not be shared with ANYBODY… irrespective of how close that friend is.

Although there are many positive aspects of social media for adolescents and young adults, there are also risks. It’s for the parents and school to share the right values, tips and warnings with them to avoid incidents that will be cause for a lifetime of regret.

Also read: Should your child have a social media account?

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[Images courtesy: Instagram]

Written by

Divya Nair

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