Earlier this month police warned that some teens may be participating in the 48- Hour Challenge. This latest feat involves the child running away from home and accruing “likes” on social media.
However, this week we learned of two Houston 6th grade girls who had gone missing, with their parents scared out of their minds. Both the girl’s cell phones had been turned off and the parents were obviously hoping they weren’t truly abducted.
KHOU reports that Mary Tran Le, 13, and Tianny Granja, 12, left their homes around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday with their backpacks and never made it to class, days after they spoke to one of their mothers about the challenge.
Fortunately the girls have been found and returned to their families.
When reports of the social media game surfaced, whose mission is to score many likes while you’re “missing”, it could not be confirmed. Yet the average child who hears of these rumors may think it’s an actual challenge and turn rumor into reality.
Police are already stretched thin and image the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario if this challenge goes viral.
What other dangerous challenges are out there?
Last year we learned of the “Boiling Water Challenge” in which kids drink boiling water from a straw or have it poured all over their body. Then they topped it off with a more dangerous challenge, the “Fire Challenge.”
The Fire Challenge is executed by pouring rubbing alcohol on one’s body and then setting oneself on fire. A video records the victim running into a tub or shower to wash it off, and this trend has gone viral.
Unfortunately it’s one of the most dangerous. A 12 year-old girl from Detroit who participated in this challenge is undergoing multiple surgeries to repair burns afflicting close to 50% of her body.
Multiple cases of the “Fire Challenge” have been reported over the years, including a 12 year-old boy from Georgia.
One would think children, especially teens, innately know that fire is dangerous but maybe the younger generation has been so protected that they haven’t experienced the basic concepts of danger and inadvertently underestimate its force.
Challenges that involve dangerous stunts have been around for some time. The Choking Challenge induced children to suffocate themselves for the high of feeling asphyxiated. The Tide Pod Challenge tempted kids to put colorful cleaning packets in their mouths, hoping they wouldn’t burst.
The Cinnamon Challenge sparked thousands to inhale the common kitchen spice and cough till they puked. Then the Condom Challenge offered two options where one dropped a condom filled with water on a friends face, or snorted one through the nose.
We adults can’t for the life of us figure out what the reward is in performing these challenges, but presume its fame and awe among friends and social media followers. But these challenges prove dangerous and in some cases deadly. Unfortunately the YouTube Clips never show the after effects of these pranks…maybe they should.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.