A recent warning from the FDA about social media’s latest challenge to go viral has reignited attention on the dangerous trend that puts impressionable children and teens at risk.
The need for affirmation on social media, reinforced by peer pressure, can have dangerous consequences, as stunts like eating a pod of Tide detergent, holding your breath until you pass out, or ingesting chicken cooked in NyQuil have injured young people and even resulted in deaths.
“Therein lies the danger, in immature children combined with very powerful algorithms and the desire to be loved and accepted,” said Titania Jordan, parenting director of Bark Technologies, an app that allows parents to monitor their children’s Internet activities.
The latest trend is the so-called NyQuil Chicken Challenge, in which people film themselves cooking chicken soaked in over-the-counter cold and flu medication and then eating it. The bizarre stunt appears to have originated from the 4Chan website in 2017 and made its rounds earlier this year. The FDA last week issued a warning to children not to try this at home.
While there have been no reported injuries or fatalities for the NyQuil Chicken Challenge yet, the same cannot be said for past stunts. Perhaps the deadliest was the “blackout challenge”, which emerged in 2008 and came back into vogue earlier this year. Also called a ‘choking challenge’ or ‘passing out challenge’, it encourages users to hold or hold their breath until they pass out due to lack of oxygen. He was linked to more than 80 deaths when he first appeared, according to the CDC, and more have died since he resurfaced last year on TikTok.
TikTok is being sued for wrongful death after three girls from Texas, Philadelphia and Milwaukee died trying to recreate the choking challenge.
The platform says it is investigating any reports of “dangerous or harmful challenges circulating online”.
The psychosocial components of what compels an impressionable youngster to try such practices have parents and others thwarted, Jordan told the Daily News.
“TikTok is an integral part of teen and tween culture and includes everything from fashion and sports to music and memes,” Jordan said. “And unfortunately, challenges that harm human life can take off as virally as some of the more fun or benign challenges.”
A teenager “might want to jump on the bandwagon to go viral,” she explained.
It’s basically peer pressure on steroids.
“Whether it’s Tide pods, a morning after pill, or Benadryl, it’s less about a pharmaceutical product or a specific ingredient and more about peer pressure to push the envelope,” said she declared. “There’s always been peer pressure. Now there’s the added element of views, virality and engagement – shares, comments.”
Few parents realize that their child might be susceptible, she says.
“You never think it’s going to be your child until he makes a mistake, he makes a bad choice,” she said.
“Social media rewards outrageous behavior, and the more outrageous the greater the bragging rights,” the American Academy of Pediatrics said on its website. “It’s a fast-paced, impulsive environment, and the fear of losing is real for teenagers. This environment plays on a teenager’s underdeveloped ability to think about their actions and the possible consequences.”
Besides being “silly and unappetizing,” the fake chicken dish could be dangerous and even deadly, the FDA said. The makers of NyQuil have also discouraged the use of their product with poultry or any other foods.
The FDA recently warned against all potentially dangerous social media challenges, especially those involving drugs. The agency also cited previous challenges, including the Benedryl Challenge which involves participants filming themselves consuming high doses of the over-the-counter antihistamine drug diphenhydramine, and the effects of the resulting hallucinations.
Pediatrician and child safety and injury prevention advocate Dr. Nkeiruka Orajiaka knows the fallout from these social media challenges. “I’ve seen people hurt in previous challenges, like the milk crates, the Benadryl challenge,” she said, referring to people filming themselves carefully climbing a pyramid of plastic containers. plastic and generally falling off.
“We have a lot of injuries from falls, broken bones,” she said, which is especially bad for teens and tweens “because at that age their bones are still growing, their bones are still fragile”.
Parents can step in to prevent such incidents, experts said.
“I think a lot of parents don’t want to talk about these challenges,” Orajiaka said. “It’s about finding a way to have these conversations before they actually happen.”
“It’s a very, very interesting time to be a parent and a kid. Scary,” Jordan said.
Chicken cooked in NyQuil? Help kids avoid social media ‘medical challenges’
New York Daily News 2022.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Quote: Social media challenges pose dangers to even the best-adjusted children, experts say (2022, September 28) Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-09-social-media- pose-hazards-well-adjusted.html
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