Research In Action

Research In Action

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Dangerous Social Media Challenges

We've previously blogged about viral and dangerous social media challenges, and unfortunately, some of them continue to result in harm and even death among youth. Here is a roundup of some current viral trends circulating in recent months:

Blackout Challenge

While the 'blackout challenge' (wherein individuals try to hold their breath until they pass out) has been around for several years already, young kids continue to become injured (at times fatally) because of the challenge. As of November of 2022, at least 15 children under age 12 have died as a result of attempting this challenge. 

'Orbeez' Challenge

For this challenge, users are encouraged to shoot at others using gel ball or gel blaster guns. Some videos show individuals shooting at others in crowded venues, including movie theaters. Other videos show individuals shooting from moving vehicles in a drive-by style. The gel balls can cause damage to eyes and other parts of the body if they hit a person at a high speed; moreover, toy guns can be mistaken for real guns and incite panic. 

Tranquilizer Challenge

Last month in Mexico, multiple 5th and 6th graders had to be treated by medical personnel after taking part in a new challenge to see which student could stay awake the longest after taking benzodiazepines (or 'tranquilizers'). It was the fourth school in Mexico to report this type of incident within the last year. Benzodiazepine overdose can result in life-threatening symptoms, including coma and respiratory depression.

'Kia' Challenge

Since this challenge (in which Kia and Hyundai cars with traditional ignitions are targeted for thefts due to security flaws) went viral last year, the frequency of Kia/Hyundai thefts has risen by 50% in the New York metropolitan area. Thankfully low-tech security options such as a steering wheel lock could be all that is needed to protect one's car.