The internet is amazing and scary in equal parts. We live in a time when every kid has access to smartphones, tablets, and laptops, and it is a real challenge to monitor your child’s digital footprint.
Every time your child is online, there is a potential threat to their privacy, as well as yours. Many online sites and games can digitally tracking your location, which can be misused by cybercriminals and perpetrators of child abuse.
However, something that parents may not be aware of is that there are tons of challenges and games on social media, where kids are encouraged to engage in extremely dangerous behavior. It’s important to take necessary precautions to protect your kids:
- Educate them about online predators and teaching them to avoid entering personal details over the internet
- Disable access to dangerous sites
- Keep sharp or harmful objects away from them
The first step, though, is knowing which games are the most popular.
11 dangerous games parents should know about
Blue Whale challenge
This is an online suicide game led by a social media group where administrators ask children and teenagers to take on a series of challenges that end with them eventually killing themselves. This game is responsible for hundreds of teen suicides worldwide. Players are required to do a series of bizarre tasks in 50 days, putting peer pressure on players to get them to go all the way to the end.
A 21-year-old Russian, Philipp Budeikin, was found to be the mastermind behind this game and was arrested. However, some suspect that the game still exists and is being managed by other people
Also known as the fainting game, the choking game is where children and teens strangle themselves or strangle each other on video. The game is meant to cause deprivation of oxygen to the brain resulting in a feeling of being high (similar to alcohol or recreational drugs), light-headedness, dizziness, or temporary unconsciousness. However, this is very dangerous, and several deaths have occurred because of this challenge.
This challenge involves consuming a large amount of milk (usually about one gallon or 3.8 L of whole milk) within a set period of time. Drinking a gallon of any type of fluid so fast in such a short time frame can be dangerous. Anybody trying this challenge may accidentally aspirate (inhale) the fluid causing lung complications or vomiting.
This challenge involves eating a spoonful of cinnamon without drinking water for 60 seconds on video. Although this may sound harmless, cinnamon dust can enter the lungs and cause severe damage. It can also cause dryness of the mouth, choking, throat irritation, breathing difficulties, and even lung collapse. The cinnamon challenge has led to many hospitalizations.
Tide pod challenge
This challenge involves biting down on a brightly colored laundry detergent packet and spitting out or ingesting its contents. This game began as a joke with children, but it can cause serious health problems, especially if they swallow the detergent. Tide pods are brightly colored and look like candy. Children are attracted to such products and may ingest them accidentally, even outside the game. It is therefore best to keep these items out of your child’s reach.
This is an online prank that targets younger children, giving them dangerous instructions such as turning on gas in the stove at midnight when nobody is awake and then going back to sleep. The game promises children that if they do this, they will wake up and become fire fairies. This game has resulted in fires and serious burn injuries in children.
This is an online game that revolves around a child lost in the forest who asks players to help find her way back home. The game has frightening audio and visual sound effects. Players are asked a series of personal questions as they accompany the little girl home. This is dangerous because children often reveal their personal information that can be misused by hackers and cybercriminals.
This is a game that involves stabbing a knife between each finger, really fast, with the goal of not hitting any finger. However, this has resulted in serious hand injuries in many people, including older teens and adults.
This is an online game that encourages children and teens to cut their own arms, legs, or other body parts with a razor blade or knife. Following this, they need to take pictures, show their friends or post it on social media.
Salt and ice challenge
This is a self-harming challenge that asks people to put salt on their skin and then place ice on the area. This causes a burning feeling and pain similar to frostbite. The goal is to see who can tolerate pain for the longest time and then post the video on YouTube or other social media sites. The combination of ice and salt creates a chemical reaction where the mixture gets as cold as −64.4 degrees F and burns through the skin, resulting in serious injuries.
Charlie Charlie, an urban legend game, has gained some popularity due to social media stars filming themselves playing it. The concept is similar to an Ouija board:
- A White piece of paper with four quadrants drawn on it is placed on a table.
- Two quadrants are labeled yes and the other two are labeled no.
- Two pencils are placed over each other and over the lines drawn to make the quadrants.
- “Demon Charlie” is then asked questions, which is supposed to cause the pencils to move to either yes or no.
According to the legend, Charlie continues to haunt them, especially if they don’t say good-bye properly at the end. The pencils typically move because of a breeze or other children trying to shake them.
Although the game does not cause any physical danger, it can deeply affect children’s mental health. Fear of ghosts and demons causes many children to become scared, have night terrors and insomnia, wet the bed, etc., and overall negatively affect their mental and physical well-being.
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