Be aware of people who are looking for quick fame and how they may be influencing your kids. Increasingly, trendy online challenges — such as the “blackout challenge” or “Sleepy Chicken challenge” — are leading to injuries and poisonings. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that parents help their kids and teens build intellectual muscle and consider the consequences of dangerous internet challenges.
Start the conversation
Ask your kids about the biggest challenges they’ve heard about in their circle of friends and what they think about the challenge. Calmy and without judgment, help them judge the risk of this challenge by talking about what could happen to someone who tries the challenge.
Asking questions about school trends, friends and fads may yield more answers than direct questions about their own activities.
Consider the outcomes
If your child mentions an interest in participating in a challenge, use open-ended questions to encourage them to think through each step of the challenge. Ask them to consider the worst outcomes. You can still exercise your parental options, such as limiting contact with certain kids or making specific activities off limits.
Be sure to “friend” your kids on social media
Staying in touch on their preferred communication platforms can help you keep in touch with what goes on in their day-to-day lives. Watch their stories for clues about what is going on in school and with their friends. Let your children know that they have to friend you in exchange.
If your child expresses thoughts of wanting to harm themselves or others, call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency department.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline:
Text any message to 9-8-8
Chat online at 988lifeline.org/chat
Crisis Text Line:
Text “HOME” to 741741
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American Psychological Association
Promoting healthy technology use for children
Child Mind Institute
Media Guidelines for Kids of All Ages
Family media plan and media time calculator
Dangerous internet challenges
The New York Times
How to use TikTok’s parental controls
Parent resources for YouTube
Safety resources for parents
Parental guide for teens on Instagram