Kids are prone to doing dumb things. This has been going on, well, probably forever. But historically, when kids have done dumb things, it has been without a massive audience.
That is not the case anymore.
When we were young, a kid would do some sort of stunt in the neighborhood, and everyone would agree it was dumb, and that would be the end of it.
Not so today.
Social media, in particular Tik Tok and YouTube, has made it possible for kids to do dumb things that get a massive amount of attention.
And when dumb things get a massive amount of attention, other kids are going to copy them.
Kids, like adults, can become addicted to the attention they get on social media. So if it takes a dangerous stunt in order to get popular online, many kids will be willing to do whatever it takes. Even if it’s dangerous to themselves or others.
And this is when things can go from stupid to outright dangerous. On a large scale.
Remember the cinnamon challenge, when kids would choke down mouthfuls of cinnamon for entertainment? Yeah. Judgment isn’t always a forte of the human species.
This brings me to the new “tripping jump challenge” – which by the way is also called the “skull breaker challenge.” If something is called the skull breaker challenge, I think we can all agree that we don’t want our kids doing it.
In the tripping challenge, three kids line up, all prepared to jump in unison. What the kid in the middle doesn’t know is that their friends are planning to kick their legs out from under them mid-air.
You guys. You guys! This is so so stupid and dangerous. I doubt that the kids participating in this fully appreciate that what they’re doing is actually really unsafe. Kids don’t think through things like that a lot of the time. But the chance for a cracked skull here is very real.
There have already been serious injuries and even a small number of deaths from head injuries associated with the challenge.
A few weeks ago a family member got a head injury in what had initially seemed to be a minor car accident. She spent the next week disoriented, unable to eat, unable to go to work, unable to control emotions, with bad headaches. It was really scary. Head injuries are no joke!
If you have kids old enough to be on YouTube or Tik Tok, talk to them about this. Make sure that they’ve heard from you just how dangerous this “prank” really is.
Remember, this particular challenge relies on the victim being unaware of what’s about to happen to them. So the best way to stop it in its tracks is for kids to be aware.
Beyond being dangerous, this “prank” can lead kids into legal trouble. There are already lawsuits related to cases of the tripping challenge.
What might seem to your kid like a joke is actually an assault. (Similarly, your underage son or daughter might not realize that sending a naked photo of themselves to a classmate can be considered distribution of child pornography).
We need our kids to be educated on these things while their frontal cortexes are developing – which takes, you know, decades.
In the age of mass social media, our kids are vulnerable in ways that we never had to deal with. They don’t have the judgment yet to manage the allure of the spotlight with the world real world repercussions of it.
Let’s help them out.
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