Parents, do you know what your kids are watching online?

Social platforms like TikTok are full of entertaining, creative, and even inspirational videos shared by creators worldwide. It’s easy to lose track of time when scrolling through a pool of content that is mostly meaningless but that become popular and sometimes even great. But like all social networks, the fun can instantly turn dangerous, especially when viral challenges begin to circulate in the digital world.

Viral Challenges

Teens are well known for participating in reckless behaviour. Since the rise of social media, its use has become prevalent amongst young adults, encouraging them to be impulsive and engage in risk-taking, in the form of viral challenges.

Throughout the years, there have been many viral challenges, some harmless or well-intentioned and some dangerous, that have even turned deadly. Here are 4 dangerous viral challenges you need to know about:

  1. The Blackout Challenge: What makes this viral challenge particularly dangerous is that it can be fatal. This challenge is meant to encourage kids to choke themselves, cutting off just enough oxygen to the brain to enter in a temporary euphoria state.

Quick Stat: According to a July 2022 report from The Verge, seven children between the ages of 8 to 14 allegedly died of strangulation after participating in TikTok’s blackout challenge.

  1. Bird Box Challenge: Inspired by the Netflix movie Bird Box, kids are recreating the film by blindfolding themselves while going about their daily lives. Some TikTok users have taken this challenge as far as driving blindfolded (or pretending to).

Quick Stat: A 17-year-old in Utah caused a highway collision involving another car after reportedly participating in the bird box challenge by driving blindfolded.

  1. Hot Water Challenge: Complete opposite of the Ice Bucket Challenge, this one is much more dangerous. Kids are pouring boiling water over their bodies, or even drinking it, to prove they can withstand the heat. Nobody can – this challenge can leave victims with second-degree burns, or even worse, death.

Quick Stat: This challenge has sent many kids to the hospital, suffering from severe burns, and at least one has resulted in death. 8-year-old Ki’ari Pope of Florida died after being dared to drink boiling water through a straw.

  1. Benadryl Challenge: Like the blackout challenge, this can be fatal. This trend involves children recording themselves taking large doses of Benadryl, enough for them to hallucinate, and posting it on TikTok.

Quick Stat: A 15-year-old girl from Oklahoma died from an overdose of Benadryl after falling victim and partaking in this viral challenge.

Protecting Your Children

Viral challenges continue to emerge and shock us with how far it can go. As parents, it can be alarming to discover your kid participating, or worse injured, from these dangerous stunts for the sake of social media gain. There is no way to anticipate them, however, staying up to date with online trends and keeping open lines of communication is a great start.

Keep an eye on what your tweens and teens are watching online. Netsweeper provides internet parental controls that helps parents create a safe online environment for their families. Benefits include time restrictions, scheduling controls, blocking websites, email alerts and more.