Peer pressure, social media and online trends can be a dangerous mix for teenagers
Being a teenager means building their identities, exploring their limits, and looking for new experiences. These are all essential as a teen finds his or her own path to adulthood. However, being a teen also involves engaging in risky behaviors. A teen’s thrill-seeking nature can be a nightmare for any parent.
Social media has become a popular platform to launch online challenges and dares. Some are fun and harmless, while others can be risky and dangerous. Since teens don’t want to be excluded from their peers, they would accept dares or social media challenges. Acceptance is important for teenagers because they want to fit in with their peers.
Here are some of the risks behind popular social media challenges and dares that parents need to know.
From movie celebrities to famous astronauts, selfies have become a popular way of taking photographs. However, there are associated risks when taking selfies. Selfie trends such as “#behindthewheel” and “#NekNomination” are exposing teenagers to danger. Taking selfies while behind the wheel is dangerous and it could lead to road accidents. Smartphone use accounts for 12 percent (12%) of teen car crashes, which includes texting, calling, and selfies. Teens spend less time on the wheel because they spend more time on their phones while driving. Health experts also warn teenagers not to participate in drinking challenges. At least five men died due after being “NekNominted” and drank a mixture of deadly cocktails. Consuming large amounts of alcohol can affect a teen’s ability to sense danger and decision-making skills.
Random chats via roulette
Meeting someone new through a dare is natural for teenagers. It’s both risky and exciting, which gives them an opportunity to prove their worth to their peers. Some teens use online chat websites such as Chatroulette to meet someone new. It allows them to have a conversation with a random user and press the “Next” button if they get bored. Although the website’s developers have created measures to protect its users against abuse and inappropriate content, Chatroulette can be a “haven” for online predators who target minors. Teens are susceptible to these dangers as they would accept such dares just to please their peers. Filtering and blocking these chat websites will discourage teens from using them. MomSecure’s Site filtering service helps filter these chat websites on your teen’s smartphone or tablet.
“Duct Tape”, “Salt and Ice” and other challenges on social media
Being online 24/7 exposes teens to different risks brought by misinformation online. Since they still lack critical-thinking skills, teens can land themselves in life-threatening situations. In fact, a fourteen-year-old boy from Seattle, Washington, suffered from a shattered eye socket and brain aneurysm after participating in the Duct Tape Challenge. He was lucky to have recovered from his injuries.
Teens in the UK were brought to hospitals due to second-degree burns. These injuries were unintentional and they were the result of the “Salt and Ice” challenge. It dares teens to put salt and icetogether on their skin. Whoever can withstand the pain longest wins the challenge. It may sound cool but these trending challenges on social media will either leave the scarred or become fatal.
Teenagers need to learn to take risks as it helps them grow and develop. Parents need to guide their teens about the challenges they see on social media. Online safety is still the basic rule of thumb while on the Internet.
Related article: A Parent’s Guide to Social Media