These New “Games” Could Have Serious Consequences For Your Child

It comes as no surprise that children and teens are influenced by social media.

Doctors have warned parents to limit screen time, and closely monitor children’s activity online.

The Internet is fraught with danger for vulnerable kids and teens, and now a disturbing new trend is sending some children to the hospital with serious injuries.

In the past year, several social media “challenges” have become popular among the nation’s youth.

And doctors are warning parents to be aware to prevent injury in our kids and teens.

First, there was the “eraser” challenge, showing children rubbing their skin with pencil erasers reported:

A popular version of the dare has children reciting the alphabet while rubbing the skin on their arm fast and hard with an eraser. It often leads to skin abrasions and cuts, with the apparent goal to see how long the participants can last. They then “compare” their wounds. Social media is filled with videos of kids and teens filming themselves doing the challenge and wincing in pain. Photos show the resulting scars.

Some parents have reported taking their children to the emergency room for severe burns, then being shocked when they were told the cause by the treating physician.

Other challenges have been in the form of dares, where children are told to eat extremely spicy foods, or see how many marshmallows, candies, or other foods they can put in their mouths at one time.

In the case of the spicy food challenge, such as snack chips, children are ending up in the hospital with stomach issues.

And in the case of other eating challenges, the worst has happened — children have died from choking on hard candies and other foods. reported:

The marketing for snacks like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is incredibly accurate. This cheesy snack is “dangerously good.” So dangerous, in fact, many doctors are now advising parents to not let their children — and to not let themselves! — indulge in this fiery, cheesy snack.

Overindulging can, in fact, put you in the hospital from the side effects.

Eating this much Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in particular is bad for your health because all the red hot spices you ingest can actually damage your stomach.

The spices from the Cheetos can stick along your gastrointestinal tract — including your esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and small intestine. This can cause pain in the upper abdomen that rises to the chest, “likely due to the red peppers and spice contained in the snack,” Dr. Glatter explained. Dr. Glatter serves as an emergency medicine physician in New York.

And one of the more dangerous social media challenges is sending children to the hospital with second-degree burns and frostbite, and has left permanent scars on participants.

Fox News Health reported:

The dangerous “salt and ice challenge” is the latest internet craze that has many parents concerned, as some children who participate are being admitted to the hospital

For the challenge, kids are competing to see who can withstand pain the longest. Salt can drop the temperature of ice to as low as 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is similar to frostbite, Pop Sugar reported. As evidence of their participation, kids are posting images of their blistered skin online.

Effects from the competition often don’t become noticeable until after numbness and redness from the ice has subsided, so many kids aren’t getting the medical attention they need until the damage has been done, Huffington Post UK reported. 

And Fox News Healthreported on a different kind of challenge that may have serious mental health, rather than physical, consequences.

Now of course, we have a new trend called the #CharlieCharlieChallenge. The game has teenagers balancing pencils in a cross formation over the words “yes” and “no” on a sheet of paper. Players ask questions which are then answered by a “Mexican demon named Charlie.” As pointed out by many, there is no demon in Mexican folklore named Charlie. The entire thing is fabricated, and yet our teenagers are taking part in this folly, calling out to a ghost to ask if he is “here” or if he can “play.”

The social media bloggers are claiming that if players are not careful, this demon ghost can enter your home and make your life miserable.

[Although it sounds silly] we have to remember who this game is targeting: vulnerable teenagers. What if this exercise is done by a vulnerable teen who is going through some emotional issues? What if this latest #CharlieCharlieChallenge leads an individual to make the wrong decisions based on an “answer” given to them by a fictional demon? It may even create a new environment for some that is riddled with fear and anxiety.

As time goes on, there will inevitably be more “challenges” and “games” tempting our children on social media.

Parents should monitor their children’s screen time, Internet activity, and especially signs of any injury or strange behavior that may be associated with one of these challenges.

“It is important for schools keep a close eye on all emerging trends and we welcome the warning to parents [sic],” a spokesperson for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in the U.K. told the Huffington Post UK. “The rise of social media has contributed to increasing peer pressure among children. These ‘crazes’ are another clear example of the risks.”