A new advisory for parents from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) addresses the perilous trend of “social media challenges.” This is in response to the rising popularity of a viral trend that instructs its followers to boil chicken with NyQuil. In this article, you will learn more about how to talk to your kids about risky online activities.
Overdosing can occur if the medicine is cooked, as this concentrates the substance and releases hazardous fumes. We keep an eye out for peer pressure as parents, and it’s crucial to know about potentially dangerous “challenges” like this one that are making the rounds.
We talked to professionals on how to have that difficult conversation with your children about the dangers of social media, including how to tell which platforms are safe, how to assist your child resist peer pressure to engage in harmful activities, and how to have that conversation.
Why Is It That A Social Media Challenge Can Be So Dangerous?
Some social media challenges can be quite harmful, especially if they include the use of medication or otherwise interfere with normal bodily processes. The FDA has issued a stern warning against taking risks with viral challenges involving over-the-counter drugs. A fatal overdose can result from the misuse of any drug, even those that are legal to purchase without a prescription.
An earlier TikTok fad, before the recent NyQuil chicken challenge, promoted the excessive use of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to cause hallucinations. The Food and Drug Administration encourages parents to have open conversations with their children about the risks of drug abuse and the ways in which harmful online trends can have real-world consequences.
Threats in social media challenges are not limited to those involving drugs. The Washington Post reported in 2018 that some teenagers were consuming complete Tide Pods or chewing cooked versions of the detergent sachets. The fact that laundry detergent is not safe to ingest should come as no surprise to anyone.
The so-called “cinnamon challenge” became popular in 2013, when teens were challenged to drink one teaspoon of ground cinnamon without water in 60 seconds. Aspiration pneumonia, lung collapse, and/or irreversible lung damage may result from doing so.
The peer pressure and herd mentality at play in these challenges makes them especially hazardous, leading impressionable young people to put their health or life at risk for the sake of online fame.
If social media challenges are so popular, why is that the case?
One may see that the risks associated with some social media difficulties far outweigh any potential benefits. So why, despite the risks, do so many young people continue to partake? It’s only human for kids to want to fit in with the rest of their peer group, and this holds true for both potentially harmful and beneficial social media tasks.
Many of these young people are merely trying to follow the lead of their peers. For entertainment purposes, children are constantly on the lookout for new and interesting things to do.
Adolescents and younger children may be seeking attention in the same way that younger children engage in “childish dares” by challenging one another to engage in potentially harmful activity in order to gain popularity.
Being popular at school, having lots of friends, and doing well academically are all influenced by what you publish about yourself on social media. Participating in viral challenges online can boost a kid’s popularity at school. In large part, the high numbers of people who take part in these challenges can be attributed to the influence of their peers.
Competition of this kind is risky for many reasons, but peer pressure to succeed is particularly problematic. Because of the impetuosity of youth and the tendency of people to participate in dangerous activities just because they are the “in thing,” the consequences of these issues becoming widespread can be devastating.
What Should I Tell My Child About Their Online Problems?
Educating their children about the potential dangers of participating in social media challenges can be challenging for parents in an era when platforms like TikTok and similar ones are more widely available and popular than ever. If a child doesn’t participate in these online fads, they may feel like they’re the only one who doesn’t. Parents should discuss with their children the risks associated with partaking in risky social media trends.
Find out what kinds of videos they’re watching and who they’re following on social media, then have a discussion about the consequences of this behavior. Parents need to keep an eye on their kids.
Parents must be able to have candid conversations with their children about how social media may damage their mental health and how they can work together to find answers. This also applies to challenges posted on social media.
Open discussion with your kids about dangers is vital. Parents must warn their children about potential threats so they can make an informed choice. Teaching your kids to make safe decisions is an ongoing discussion. Open conversation about social media threats can help your kids discern between safe and hazardous challenges.
What more can parents do to protect kids from online harm?
Parents can do more than warn their kids about social media to keep them safe online. To help children learn to moderate their use of digital media, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests putting in place a Family Media Plan.
Parents should have regular conversations with their children about the kind of media they are exposed to and pay close attention to any changes in their child’s behavior or emotional state. Established norms are helpful.
Even if your child is just using a device for a short period of time, it is still a good idea to apply parental controls and consider using a timer to turn off the device when the allotted time has passed, especially if your child is very young.
Parents should set limits on their children’s time spent on social media. Communicating with kids about the stuff they encounter on social media is crucial if you want them to utilize it.
Several precautions should be taken with all drugs to ensure the safety of your children, as recommended by the CDC. That means not closing the door on talking about the risks associated with improper prescription use. Teens can take more responsibility for their drug use if they sign a contract, as recommended by the Nemours Children’s Health Foundation. It would state that your children can always come to you for an open and frank discussion about anything.
Truthfulness is a prominent subject in discussions with young people. Keeping the lines of communication open and fostering trust can be accomplished by being transparent about the dangers posed by social media difficulties. It’s more important to keep the lines of communication open and learn about what kids see online and how that might affect their mental and physical health than to set up screen-free zones and times at home.
Young people’s participation in viral social media challenges can be both entertaining and rewarding. Some, however, pose serious health hazards or need the use of potentially harmful medications. It’s important to address the dangers of social media with your kids so you can both be watchful. Peer pressure and making choices independently of what others may think are topics that might be discussed.
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