Tide Pods, Erasers and Other Disturbing Challenges: How to Protect Your Teen

When A Joke isn’t a Joke

The teenage brain is something that many parents struggle with. Teens can be dramatic, irrational and sometimes do things that you’d never expect. The reality is, teenage brains are different. The frontal lobes aren’t
fully connected yet, for one. This is the part of the brain that helps us determine the consequence for something and determine if an action is a good idea. Without that connection, teens often reach the right conclusion a bit more slowly.

So, more often than not, you’ve probably uttered the words, “What was she thinking?” in regards to your daughter. Without that fully-connected frontal lobe, she probably wasn’t. And that’s when you end up with these insane internet challenges.

Insane Internet Challenges

There are several challenges going on right now that even honor students with excellent SAT scores are participating in. While fitting in is a big part of it, a lot of teens taking part in these challenges just don’t understand the consequences they could face.

The Salt and Ice Challenge

This ‘game’ has been around for years and it keeps coming back. Teens pour salt on their arm or leg, then put an ice cube on top of it. The salt quickly lowers the temperature of the ice and in less than 10 minutes, serious burns can occur. The kids doing this challenge are essential giving themselves frostbite.

The Eraser Challenge

This is another challenge that has been around the block a time or two. For this challenge, teens rub an eraser on their skin while reciting the alphabet. The result is a serious cut, burn or abrasion from the eraser. They then compare their burns through social media.

The Tide Pod Challenge

It isn’t known how the Tide Pod Challenge began, but it became a viral issue very quickly. The teens dare each other to chew up or eat a laundry pod. Even if a teen spits the soap out, consuming a small amount can be dangerous. It can lead to loss of consciousness, vomiting, trouble breathing and even death. It’s basically  ingesting poison.

The Hot Water Challenge

One of the worst of these online challenges is the Hot Water Challenge. Participants pour hot (sometimes near boiling) water onto an unsuspecting “friend.” At a teenage sleepover, this resulted in burns so severe that the recipient (who was not ware or actively participating) needed hospitalization.

What Can Parents Do?

First, if your teen has ingested a laundry pod, call 911 immediately for medical help. Next, make sure your laundry pods are safely put away in a locked cabinet or closet when aren’t in use.
Wash any small wound from an eraser dare, wash it with soap and warm water, then apply antibiotic ointment. See the doctor for any burns or oozing.
Other steps to take include:
  • Be aware of the different challenges and dares occurring among teens. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to prevent them from happening in your home.
  • Monitoring your daughter’s footprint to determine if she’s liking, engaging or posting anything about these challenges.
  • Talk to your teen about the different challenges out there. Help them better understand the serious health issues associated with these challenges.
  • Talk to the principal of your teen’s school. This is especially important if your teen reports seeing a challenge or takes part in one. Reporting the activity to the school could help prevent other students from engaging in the challenges as well.

Making Sure Your Teen is Safe

If you feel like your teen is in need of help and are looking for a safe place where she can learn and grow while healing from behavior problems consider our therapeutic girls’ school. We offer safe and helpful activities to help your teen make the right decisions for them. This includes our girls boarding school sports programs, clubs and outdoor activities.
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