Eagle County Sheriff: More online ‘challenges’ your teen could be faced with (column 2 of 2)
July 5, 2018
Our children's sphere of influence has expanded into the unknown … the far reaches of the web. According to Newsweek, the list of teen challenges from social media reads a torture chamber: have a friend douse you with boiling water, eat a Carolina Reaper (the world's hottest chili pepper), pour a bottle of vodka directly into your open eye, chew and swallow an entire cactus plant, set yourself on fire or cut off air supply.
Here are some additional challenges that your child may encounter this summer.
• The 48-Hour Challenge: Encourages children to go "missing" for extended periods with award points granted for social media posts pleading for their safe return.
• Butt Chugging: Instead of drinking, teens are ingesting alcohol through their rectums, like an enema. It can cause severe alcohol poisoning, tissue damage and even death. Teen girls are doing a similar version by soaking tampons in vodka or other alcohol and inserting them, as they would regular tampons.
• Eyeballing: Pouring large amounts of alcohol in the eye socket, causing irritation, swelling, cornea scarring and blindness.
• Neknominate (Neck and Nominate): With this, a person films themselves chugging huge amounts of alcohol, but the key is to do it in the most outlandish ways. Then they nominate two friends to do the same. There have been deaths from alcohol poisoning.
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• Cinnamon Challenge: Cinnamon is a common cooking spice and appears harmless. However, it is a caustic substance that can potentially damage the lungs. Ingesting pure cinnamon powder stimulates the body's natural gag reflex, which then causes the powder to be inhaled and stuck inside the mouth and throat, which can bind to and damage lung tissues, which can produce a lung collapse, pneumonia and pulmonary edema (a build-up of lung fluid).
• Turkey Slurpee: The stunt consists of placing a slice of deli meat with no holes for air to get through, over your mouth and then inhaling (slurping) it into your mouth, down your esophagus and into your stomach in one fell swoop. Blockage can easily occur, causing brain damage or death by suffocation.
• Tide Pod Challenge: Kids film themselves biting into liquid laundry detergent packets, such as Tide Pods. Some videos show children and teens cooking these packets of detergent in frying pans or chewing on them until the soapy bubbles gush from their mouths. The chemicals in these pods are poisonous.
• Duct Tape Challenge: The challenge involves having your friends wrap your body in duct tape then seeing how long it takes you to escape. While attempting this challenge, a Washington teen fell forward, hit his head on a window frame and fell onto a concrete floor, suffering an aneurysm and a seizure, shattering his eye socket and cheek bone. He required 50 staples in his head and is lucky to be alive.
These are only some of the "challenges" your children may attempt while bored at home. Probably the only thing a parent can do to help prevent these seemingly harmless games from becoming an irreversible tragedy is to keep your child busy. Schedule time with IRL (in real life) friends, hobbies, social activities, jobs and other time-intensive pursuits. Be aware and be safe. Make sure your summer challenges involve fun family events.
James van Beek is the Eagle County sheriff. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.