Dumb dares ranging from the “Cinnamon” to the “Salt and Ice” to the “Tide Pod” challenge are becoming more and more pervasive among teens. While seemingly entertaining, they are dangerous and sometimes deadly. So why are they cropping up with an alarming frequency?
These challenges usually have a social media component. Teens show off their performance to others. Competing for the most “likes” is part of the experience.
While teens are doing these dares to have fun, the consequences can be serious. In 2017, poison control centers received reports of more than 10,500 exposures to highly concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children 5 and younger, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Teen counselors say these stunts give an adrenaline rush and kids get attention that they may be lacking elsewhere. It’s a validation that even high achieving kids may crave. In many cases, it is a different kind of approval than they receive from parents, teachers and coaches.
So why are seemingly smart kids participating in these challenges? Licensed counselor and founder of the Teen Action and Support Center Dawn Spragg recently told NBC news that technology enables the behavior. Experts say its pointless for adults to warn kids to stay away from these trends because their brains don’t process the information the way a grown ups do. Teens need to visually see the results before determining that the latest challenge is a bad idea.
Teen counselors say the best way to keep our children safe is to be aware and keep lines of communication open. Watch social media for the latest “cool challenge”. Talk to your kids about the dangers. It may not sink in. It may take them experiencing the challenges themselves to understand the dangers. Hopefully that realization wont come with dire consequences.