There's a new social media game that is sending some kids to the emergency room. It's called the "Eraser Challenge" also known as the "ABC Game" where kids vigorously rub an eraser across their arms while citing the ABC's.
This seemingly harmless stunt first reared its head in 2014 but now it is back with a vengeance, sending some kids to the hospital with bloodied arms and others with deep wounds requiring serious medical attention.
Parents became alarmed as the stunt gained steam in the past few months. Gruesome photos emerged on social media sites like Instagram, where kids share the latest pictures of their bloody wounds.
Why Are Children Doing This?
Many parents are asking why someone would want to be a part of this dangerous challenge. "Tweens and Teens desire popularity and acceptance," said Titania Jordan, chief parenting officer of an online aid for parents called Bark .
She says those adolescent years are a crucial time in a young person's life where they may be tempted to make unsafe choices.
According to a report by the National Institutes of Health, children between the ages of 12-17 are prime targets for risky behavior. NIH reports peer pressure can result in serious behavior issues such as illicit drug use, alcohol and smoking in children as young as the 8th grade.
Jordan contends that peer pressure coupled with "an undeveloped frontal cortex with the pleasure-producing chemical that is released when their post on social media get attention, teens and tweens are more likely to participate in a dangerous challenge without assessing the risks first."
Ice 'Game' Is Also Sending Kids to the ER
And if you think the Eraser Challenge is bad enough, then answer this question – What do you get when you mix ice and salt? The answer may disturb you.
An article by The New York Post reports school children are pouring salt and ice on their skin which causes a bizarre chemical reaction, lowering the temperature of the ice to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
The end result is a burn like frostbite and a trip to the ER. Some adolescents have been hospitalized while others are permanently scarred even requiring skin grafts.
Parents: Stay on the Lookout
Jordan warns parents to be on the lookout for new challenges all the time. Another disturbing trend is #Thinspiration and #ThighGap.
These posts encourage young girls to post pictures wearing little to nothing while highlighting their thinness. For developing girls with body issues this push to be the skinniest is alarming.
With all of these dangerous trends and the allure of social media, parents are looking for resources to help them combat the hazards on the web.
Jordan is fighting back with Bark, an online safety solution for parents to monitor and detect danger their kids may face in the cyber world. This digital platform alerts parents to messages which may contain sexting, cyberbullying and suicidal thoughts.
She encourages parents to educate their children as well as arm them with solid ways out when they are pressured by peers to do unsafe activities.