A while ago, I posted a blog about how the ESRB can help you make better decisions about games your kids. However, I failed to look into how they actually rate their games. It turns out, the ESRB does not actually play the games. Instead they watch a trailer of the game produced by the video game maker. Per the ESRB’s official page, it must be “a video showing typical gameplay, missions, and cutscenes, including the most ‘extreme’ content. Unplayable content (i.e., ‘locked out’), if it is pertinent to a rating, must also be disclosed.”
Why is this important?
Because I think, based on the ESRB’s own review procedures, developers might slide features like gambling and pay-to-win loot boxes past the reviewers’ eyes. I’m not saying every game developer does this, but that doesn’t mean they won’t.
I think it’s a problem when raters don’t actually play the game. Recently, some games have been called out for having predatory practices towards a younger audience. NBA 2K20 revealed gambling style mini-game complete with roulette and slot machines to win certain items in-game through a trailer prior to release.
This game was rated E for
If children play this game and have access to a credit card, they can spend real-world money to gamble for items with in-game currency. While this may come down to a parent’s decision, I wanted to bring this to your attention. You may want to be even more careful about what games your kid plays than just relying on the ESRB rating.
Personally,I don’t think gambling should be allowed at all. It has no place in a game that allows real-world money to be used. And I think any game that is rated “E for Everyone” should not require parental oversight.
Those are the two words you see when you open any of the multiple websites that offer online birth control prescriptions.
While this method of obtaining birth control may be helpful for women trying to renew their previous prescriptions, it’s also an easy way for young tweens to bypass a doctor’s trip to obtain a prescription.
Websites like “The Pill Club” and “Nurx” offer first-time birth control prescriptions to women as young as 13 years old. Girls under 18 do not need parental approval to get a birth control prescription.
These websites offer birth control options such as the pill, the ring and the patch. They also offer emergency contraception pills and at home HIV and HPV screening tests.
The process for obtaining a prescription is simple: you provide information about yourself, select the kind of medication you want, a doctor reviews your request, fills the prescription, and your new medication gets mailed right to you.
It is very easy to bypass questions in the process that are important, like if you’ve had your blood pressure measured in the last 6 months and the current medications you may be on. However, if you don’t answer the questions as accurately as possible, you may be prescribed a medication that negativily affects your health.
Insurance information is not required to obtain a prescription from these websites. Nurx, one of the most popular online contraceptive websites, says that you will pay as little as $15 without insurance.
Many young women dread telling their parents when they have become sexually active. The process can be awkward for both the child and parent. But it is necessary for the child to know the dangers that come with sexual activity.
Online birth control websites give young women the opportunity to skip the awkward talk and get a prescription without their parent’s knowledge.
The problem with getting birth control online for a first-time prescription is that many young women do not get informed about different methods of birth control and the side effects that may occur.
Some medications can affect young women suffering from mental and physical health problems. It is very important for anyone considering filling an online prescription for birth control to get well-informed.
As your kid heads back to school this year with their new blue jeans and Nikes, they may also be taking two new apps along with them.
One is “TikTok,” a popular short-form video sharing app that
is currently #1 on the Apple App Store. The other is “YOLO,” a new anonymous
question and answer app students can use as a plug-in with Snapchat. It is #18
on the app store.
While these apps might help your kid pass time on their bus
ride home or during lunch, there are also some real dangers that parents need
to be aware of.
TikTok and Sharing Private Information
TikTok is a social media service that is designed to let
users watch, create and share videos. Often times these videos are filled with
today’s top music hits, which users have access to for free.
Originally known as “musical.ly,” before that app merged with
TikTok in August 2018, this social media channel combines several key concepts
from other popular apps.
It has the feel of “Vine,” a former, popular video sharing service that was known for its hilarious 6-second videos. But unfortunately, due to a lack of revenue, Twitter shut down Vine in January 2017.
When I was a tween myself, Vine was insanely popular for a
summer. While I didn’t have a smart phone at the time, all my friends were
using it. And from what I remember of the app, it was mostly filled with people
doing dumb stunts in order to get likes.
TikTok uses the same rabbit-hole tactic that YouTube uses to hook young users. It pre-loads the next video to keep you from leaving the app.
But just like any social media, the real concern is the amount
of private information your kid could be sharing with the world. TikTok makes
it easy to share too much information with strangers. In fact, by default,
TikTok accounts are set to public, which allows ANYONE to see your videos and
location information, and it allows anyone to direct message you.
Of course, the other major issue with this app is the content kids are watching. Because popular music has a large amount of foul and sexualized language today, your kid might be exposing themselves to this language as well as watching people dance in suggestive ways. Maybe you’re not ready for your kid to watch this.
YOLO and the Danger or Anonymous Apps
When I was growing up, the acronym “YOLO” became popular. It meant “You Only Live Once”. Pretty tame, I guess, but the app is potentially more dangerous, I think.
The app YOLO encourages users to “get anonymous answers” as soon as they are logged into the app. You can either create your own question to ask, or use the “dice” that will prompt a pre-made question. The app then encourages you to post the answers on your Snapchat story.
I have seen a lot of people say some fairly inappropriate things to others using this app. My big concern is cyber bullying. The app is popular enough that a lot of kids could be targeted by these anonymous comments.
Former anonymous social media apps, like “Ask.FM,” “Sarahah” and “YikYak,” created social havoc in my high school, in my opinion. There was such an outcry that a letter was sent home to parents asking them to get their children to stop using these apps. If I remember correctly, iTunes and the Google Play store actually kicked off Sarahah from their platforms in 2018, after they received enormous amounts of backlash because of cyber bullying. https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-43174619
Ironically, I believe tweens use these anonymous social
media apps so they can get acceptance from their peers. However, they often get
I think it’s crucial that kids grow up slowly with these apps. You will want to have a serious conversation with your kid about these apps. Sharing personal information and getting caught up in cyber bullying are just two of the issues you should discuss. Try some of our links if you want to learn more.
In today’s always connected world, we have the means
to contact other people with the click of a button. But though we may be more connected
than ever, it doesn’t mean feelings of isolation are gone. For kids growing up in the modern “Internet
Age”, isolation may even be worse.
Unfortunately, a recent study at the University of
Pittsburgh in 2017 confirmed this. It found that young adults who are the most
frequent users of social media experience more social isolation compared to
those who use it the least. The authors believe this may be due to a variety of
factors. These include viewing friends online having fun and not being invited,
seeing people doing things that seem fun and sparking feelings of envy, and
spending more time online than having real life experiences. All of these, they
speculate, contribute to feelings of isolation.
Social isolation can have big effects
As children grow up today, I think this “social
isolation phenomenon” is something to watch out for. Maybe particularly during
the tumultuous time of adolescence. Kids are more susceptible to feelings of being
left out when their friends are doing things together without them.
One source says that the effects of social isolation
are very negative. They include less restful sleep, an increased stress
response by the body, more alcohol and drug use, and even a greater risk of
I remember feeling socially isolated at times when I
was in middle school and high school. My friends would post what they were
doing on Facebook (which had just started getting widely popular) and I would
see how happy they seemed. To teenage me, it was disheartening to see people
having fun without me. Sometimes they were meeting up with my friends in real
life I’d have to hear or see the stories later.
I’m old enough that this was before Instagram,
Twitter, or Snapchat blew up. Imagine how your teen might feel today with all
of these social media outlets at their disposal. They might see their friends
having fun. Maybe they’ll see other people doing an activity they wanted to do.
What can parents do?
One source suggests five things parents can do about
this. One is to encourage volunteering. This improves mental health and can be
very pleasurable. Does your kid like animals? Or small children? Can they help
out at an aging facility? The possibilities are endless.
Also, make exercise a priority. We all know about
endorphins and how they help our mood. Don’t just rely on physical ed at
school, or team sports. Encourage them to hike with you, or take a family bike
ride. Again, the possibilities are endless.
Third, schedule some “off screen” time. Eat a family
meal with no phones allowed. Watch a show together. Maybe game with your kid
(without the head set).
Also, get them outside. Nature has lots of good
effects on our mood and mental health. And finally, talk to your kid. Have
repeated meaningful conversations about their friends, about life, and about
their mental health. What are they thinking and feeling? Learn how to be
patient and helpful, not judgmental or authoritative.
The bottom line
The Internet is a wonderful tool to help connect with others,
but it has the potential to make us feel bad also. Parents, try to help your
child understand that social media interactions are not the only interactions they
can have. And that seeing other people having fun doesn’t mean you’ve been left
out. You’ll have that fun when you see them next time.
We have numerous posts that talk about activities you
could do with your kids, as well as what you should do to protect your child
online. Check out our links below.
My father said those words to me about 5 minutes before I had to
leave for my first high school dance.
Despite my anger, I retreated to my bedroom where I changed into a
less revealing dress for the dance.
Hearing your own father chastise your fashion choices as a teenage
girl with a fragile self-esteem was a devastating experience for me.
Parents tend to restrict what their young daughters wear in order
to avoid drawing unwanted attention to themselves and their children. While
parents almost always have their children’s well-being in mind, at times they
can step over the line.
How parents can cross the line
For the last year, I’ve worked at a popular girls clothing store
and have watched parents tell their children what they can and cannot try on.
While it is understandable that a parent doesn’t want their
children wearing items they don’t deem to be appropriate, some parents don’t
understand why their daughters are dressing the way they do.
Most middle school and even high school girls aren’t dressing scantily
because they are seeking male attention. They dress in the clothing marketed to
them by every clothing store with a teenage demographic.
When parents don’t have an open and honest discussion with their
children about why they do not want them dressing a certain way, the children
usually end up feeling angry or insecure about themselves or their
When I was told I could not wear the dress I had picked out for the
school dance, I felt as if my father did it just to spite me. He never
explained to me why he believed I shouldn’t wear it to the dance. If he had
told me he was worried about what other people might think of me and my family,
we could’ve had a discussion that ended with me going to the dance feeling
better because I would have known he had my best interests in mind.
By limiting what their children wear, parents are restricting their
children’s self-expression and potentially leading their child to instead sneak
around their parents when they don’t approve of their clothing.
How social media affects children and parents
Today, everyone’s lives are exposed like tabloids on social media.
What a lot of young teenagers don’t understand is what they are seen wearing in
pictures on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook can affect how people think about
them as well as their family.
When a teenager posts an OOTD (outfit of the day) picture of
herself in a bikini, more people see the picture than she probably knows. One
of her friends may see the photograph and then show it to her own mother, who
will then make assumptions about how the mother of the girl in the bikini
chooses to parent her daughter.
Parents try their best to avoid being perceived as having a
careless or relaxed parenting style. Which is why social media has become every
parent’s worst nightmare. Now that children can share as many photos of their
clothing choices as they want, more parents are being criticized for letting
their children wear what many stores are selling today.
By talking to your children about how social media can impact how
people view them and their family today as well as in the future, hopefully
they will choose to be more cautious about what they post online.
How to talk to your daughter about her clothing choices
Approaching the subject on what you believe your daughter should
or should not wear can be tricky, especially since most teenage girls are
stubborn and have a very sensitive self-esteem. You don’t want to accidentally
offend them by saying that they shouldn’t be wearing a certain article of
clothing to school.
Parents.com author Kara Corridan discusses different ways to speak
to your tween daughter on what she wears. She suggests speaking to your child
about her clothing choices when she is “feeling relaxed and not in the
spotlight.” This means the best time to talk isn’t when she is trying to pick
out an outfit before school or when you are shopping. Instead, Corridan says to
speak to your daughter when you are both spending some down-time at home.
Corridan also suggests having an open discussion with your child
where you ask them questions about their style in a non-judgmental tone.
Instead of shutting the conversation down with a few words like “go change,”
ask them “why did you choose that outfit?” By understanding why your daughter
chooses to dress in clothing you may object to, it will be easier to explain
your concerns to her.
Author/educator Michelle Icard says that honesty is the best
policy when it comes to talking about this subject with your daughter. She
proposes telling your daughter that she is old enough to make her own choices
and that she should know when her clothes may draw unwanted attention.
While this approach may not be best for every parent, some need to know when to let their daughter make her own choices and when to intervene. Sometimes it’s best to let your children make their own mistakes and learn from them. Teenage girls express themselves through fashion and they need to be able to experiment with new styles. How you choose to handle what they wear is up to you.
Parents, I’ll be honest with you. There have been quite a few times I’ve had to lock myself away in my room or run to the bathroom at school to cry out a problem.
Most of the time, the problem itself wasn’t a big deal. But small issues pile up until sometimes you feel an overwhelming wave of emotions crashing down on you.
Often I’ll have a week in which this seems to happen every other day.
And that worries me.
I’m aware of the current statistics of mental health-related issues in people my age. It’s not uncommon to come across a friend who’s in therapy (or should be) for depression or anxiety.
Every time I get to a place where I
feel I might be getting into the “I need more help than just myself” territory,
I take a step back and evaluate where I am, the severity of my problems, and
how I can stop the panic mode.
I know I’m not the only one with
that self-awareness. So that leads me to the latest news regarding your teen
and their mental health.
Examine negative emotions
A new study from the University of Rochester (June 2019) shows that kids who are able to describe their negative emotions have a better chance of warding off depression than those who struggle with verbalizing their feelings. (Depression in this case can mean depression-like symptoms after a stressful event or actual clinical depression later in life.)
What this means is that communicating with your teen is key to their mental health. Not only will you have a better understanding of what’s going on in your child’s head, but you can actually help them be more mindful of their own thoughts and feelings.
Find the source of stress
Midterm exams. A big game. A rocky relationship. Friend drama. The list can go on and on.
The trick is finding the source of the negative emotions and dissecting how and why it made your kid feel bad.
Is she upset that her friend ignored her one text, or does she think that she and her friend are drifting apart? Is your son angry that he missed a goal that could’ve won the game, or is he feeling a lot of pressure to perform well on the field because his grades are slipping?
Is it overthinking? Are the negative
emotions valid? Do they have too much on their plate?
Make “talking it out” a normal part of the process
Think of how much time you could save yourself if you analyzed every situation that stressed you out. You’d be golden.
It’s not an easily attainable goal, but it’s one we should all strive to have.
I’ve designated my mom as my go-to person for emotional issues. Sometimes she gets a very detailed text listing all the bad things that happened in my day that led to the bad mood I was in while writing the text. Sometimes I just share with her that I decided to skip coffee that morning because I knew I would have a busy morning and caffeine would only heighten my anxiety.
She sits on the phone with me when
I need to talk out my problems out loud. She gives me advice to lessen my
stress factors. And sometimes all I need is validation that the emotions I’m
feeling about a situation aren’t completely moronic and childish.
What if you and your teen don’t have the kind of relationship in which you have heart-to-hearts every other day?
Offer anyway. It will always be in the back of their mind that mom or dad is there if they really need help.
Also, share your own experiences. It makes you relatable. Your kid can think of you more as a peer instead of an authority figure and in turn might be more open to opening up.
Encourage them to find their go-to person. If you know in your heart that there’s no way your teen is going to come to you with something like this, suggest that they consult with a good friend whenever they get stressed or overwhelmed.
It was the summer of 2011. The
final episode of Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life on Deck,” starring Dylan and
Cole Sprouse, was on. It marked the end of my childhood, as I knew it.
I was 13-years-old and three years removed from my other favorite tween cable shows, “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” “Drake & Josh” and “Zoey 101”. All ended, I might add, prematurely.
Growing up, my parents weren’t
always around when I got home from school. So, with my Spaghetti-O’s or Easy
Mac in hand, I watched them every afternoon. I felt like I grew up with these
actors and actresses.
When they were over, I felt lost. Like a chapter of my life was suddenly over. All the laughs, all the stories and all the countless life lessons – gone!
I knew it was time to find new show, even though the constant reruns on “Teen Nick” were some comfort. Of course, I could just wait around until ESPN decided to start speculating again if Brett Favre was going to come out of retirement. But in July, football season seemed so far way. (Yes, even at 13 I was hooked on football.)
I began exploring new channels. What
I stumbled upon was a collection of great ‘90s, coming-of-age series, like
“Saved by the Bell” and “Boy Meets World”. Thanks to Mr. Belding and Mr. Feeney
I continued to learn valuable life lessons, like, tell a close friend the truth
even if it will make them made, and, be very careful of caffeine pills.
I also came across shows more grown up shows, like “That’s 70’s Show,” “Freaks and Geeks” and “How I Met Your Mother.” Masterpieces, but I was too naive at the time to get all of the drug and sexual references went over my head. However, kids these days are exposed to more on social media. They might not be so clueless.
Today’s Tween/Teen Shows
Let’s face it. Today’s kids stream.
This means they don’t have to choose from just the 5-6 cable channels I had to
choose from. They can log into Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc… and find any
show they want.
It’s hard to single out what teens are watching from all of the data, so let’s look at the top streamed shows on Netflix, the hottest service amongst preteens/teens. In January, Netflix released data on some of its most viewed shows. It’s measured as a percentage of all Netflix shows, with the data pulled from web browsers from January 2018- November 2018.
I’ve pulled out a few of them that
I think many teens are watching. Maybe your kid is watching one of these. If
so, do you know what’s in it?
Showtime’s “Shameless” began airing
in 2011. It wasn’t until 2017 that the show exploded on Netflix. Suddenly
everyone was talking about the ups and downs of the alcoholic Frank Gallagher
and his six children.
This show can come across as extremely entertaining and seemingly realistic. However, it is very inappropriate for preteens or teens. There’s swearing, nudity, sex and drug references throughout, make it tough watch for even some adults. While some may say it teaches important lessons, overall, we agree with this review, that parents will find it is best suited for age 17+.
“13 Reasons Why”
Originally released as a Netflix
Original in March in March 2017, “13 Reasons Why” builds a story around a topic
often left out of popular media – suicide.
The show follows Clay Jensen as he
listens to a series of audio tapes left behind by Hannah, his deceased classmate
and former love interest.
Since the show’s release, there has
been both praise and disapproval of the show’s premise. Some say it commercializes
suicide and mental health related diseases.
Recently, Netflix actually removed two scenes after the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a study showing that suicide by people aged 10-17 “dramatically increased” in the months following the release of the show. You can check out what some parents are saying about the show and decide for yourself if your preteen/teen is ready to watch it.
Another Netflix original, “Stranger
Things,” is a science fiction horror series that has three seasons available
for streaming on Netflix.
On the surface, the show is a sci-fi that follows events in a fictitious town called Hawkins, Indiana. It’s set in 1983 and it follows the disappearance of a young boy. Many other supernatural events also take place but there’s also a lot of I’m not diving into the show myself, but I suggest you take five minutes and watch YouTube parent Nick Shell. He has a very interesting take on the show.
This show starts one of my early favorite childhood actors, Cole Sprouse (remember, the “Suite” life shows?) “Riverdale” was released in 2017 but it’s already very popular. It’s based on the Archie Comics, but it’s much darker than the comic book you might remember. I think you may want to leave this one “on the shelf” for your preteen/teen. Some of the mysteries revolve around the murder of a local boy and an affair between a student and teacher. One reviewer called it “adult content packaged as a kid show.”
Hey, there’s always going to be new TV shows. And your kid may
know about them faster than you. What can you do? For starters, you can at least look up the
title and see what others are saying about the show.
Here are two links we thought were very useful. Keep them
bookmarked. Don’t be shy about asking your kid what they’re watching.
And don’t be afraid to have them watch an old favorite. The
“Suite Life” series never gets old. Will they ever get out of that hotel or off
the boat? I hope not.
Everyone experiences stress, and each person deals with it in his or her own way. But does your tween know how to handle the stresses of life?
Stress is how the body responds to
outside factors. This can be any kind of decision your body has to make.
We often think of stress as the way we feel when our boss hands us a large number of tasks to get done in a short period of time, or when we have to get our house cleaned before guests arrive. It’s overwhelming, frustrating, and overall exhausting.
So how does your tween deal with the stress in their lives?
Homework. Tests. Maintaining
relationships. Any kind of pressures.
They feel it, too. So it’s
important to talk with your tween to make sure they have healthy coping
mechanisms for tough times.
Here are some ways to help your tween manage stress.
Understand how their bodies react to stress.
This could be increased heart rate,
inability to focus, difficulty sleeping, etc. These factors can be extremely
counterproductive to dealing with whatever is causing the stress in the first
place. Knowing the signs of stress on the body ahead of time can help them
process the situation.
Help them know what is in their control and what isn’t.
Putting off that paper until the last minute will only lead to a stressful night, but planning to get it done ahead of the due date will provide time to go over it again and not worry. Free time is necessary to relax so the body can deal with conflict when it arises. If your tween can control what’s in their schedule, evaluate with them whether they are taking on more activities than they can handle.
Practice positive talk.
Stress can lead to negative self-talk, such as talking down to oneself and telling yourself you aren’t good enough. It leads to convincing yourself you aren’t capable of finishing it and can hinder your productivity for a decent amount of time. If this seems like a lot for an adult, think of how it is for a tween.
Find a relaxing activity.
One thing I’ve learned from my mom is that exercising and getting fresh air helps me get out of my head and get back to rational thinking. When I would get overwhelmed with work or overthink a situation, she would go on a walk around the block with me and talk things out. I could get out of my room and into a new environment, and it always left me in a better state of mind to take on my problem. You could try activities like exercising, meditation, listening to music, stepping away from the cause of stress for a little, taking deep breaths, etc.
One thing to remember is that the biggest way your tween learns how to handle difficult situations is by watching you.
So what do you do? Curse at it and
yell? Or problem solve in a calm manner?
Maybe you’ve heard of an “influencer” – the newest big thing in advertising. It’s all the rage right now.
It starts with an average person (or celebrity) who has an opinion. They build a following, and finally, brands jump on board and pay them either with cash or free product to promote the brand’s products.
There are influencers in beauty, fashion, fitness, gaming and more. It’s a marketing strategy that’s becoming widely successful. And you should know about it.
Where are influencers
Instagram is the most popular platform for influencers. Just scroll through your ‘Explore Page’ on Instagram to find numerous influencers you might like. But influencers are on other social media platforms, too. YouTube is a popular place, and so is Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.
Popular (adult) influencers
Influencers often are celebrities. This make sense. Its
easier for them to get a large following. In general, more views = more
business. Kylie Jenner is the highest paid celebrity influencer. She earns $1
million per sponsored Instagram post. Selena Gomez receives $800,000 per post
and Christiano Ronaldo earns $750,000. Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé, Dwayne
“The Rock” Johnson, and many more make millions from sponsored posts.
But many top influencers are not household names. For example, here are a few of 2018’s top influencers:
Founder of Huda Beauty
24.3 million Instagram followers
2.2 million YouTube subscribers
Actor in “Expelled,” “The Outfield,” &
Well-known for his Instagram content
20.7 million Instagram followers
3.8 million Facebook followers
Male spokesperson for beauty
Covergirl’s first male spokesmodel
2.1 million Instagram followers
15.9 million YouTube subscribers
HGTV’s Fixer Upper host
Magnolia Homes, renovation business, owner with
Instagram reflects her work and personal life
4.8 million Instagram followers
There’s no doubt celebrities and influencers are having an effect on America’s youth. A company called Mintel (link) has reported that one third of kids aged 6-17 consider their top role models to be social media stars, i.e. influencers. This outranks actors, athletes, musicians and even the President.
Also, for kids, YouTube is the second most common source of information about new entertainment and toys, behind only TV commercials. This is not really a surprise. The current generation of youngsters already represent buying power of over $44 billion (link) with an additional $600 billion of family-spending also influenced by this generation.
Is there a problem here?
Maybe. Many parents don’t know that the FCC regulates TV content for children. However, they don’t have a say over Internet content. For example, there have been long standing rules about how much time in each TV show can show commercials, whether a TV show can show a product (called “product placement”), and if there was any compensation for that product placement. The regulators and protectors of children have long had their eye on TV.
But that’s not the case with social media and Internet influencers. Regulators are only now beginning to ask: “Should there be a visible disclaimer if a social media personality is being paid to endorse a product? Should there be restrictions on how much ‘content’ is pure advertising? Should there be quality checks on content for effects on health and safety?”
But you’re probably saying: “But really, what’s the big deal? It’s just stuff my kid watches to entertain themselves? Is it really having any impact?”
“Yes” is the short answer. Though this is so new not many studies are out yet, one study did find that influencers can change what your child eats. (link)
And the Bloomberg news service recently had a panel discussion on how YouTube’s children-focused channels actually have a lot of paid advertising disguised as content.
Do you need to panic? We don’t yet think so. But it is a good idea to monitor closely what your child is consuming on social media. And to find out who they follow and why they follow them.
Be aware that your kid is marketed to just as heavily as every other target demographic. Companies want their business. Meanwhile, Internet regulations with regard to children are not nearly as sophisticated and ingrained as TV rules, so it’s a bit more “user beware” out there.
And don’t forget – they don’t call them “influencers” because they have NO effect on your kid – or the bottom line of the company…
Everyone likes a good challenge, your kids included. When a dare is involved, kids have no choice but to step up to whatever challenge they’ve just been confronted with – innocent, funny or extremely dangerous.
2018 brought more dangerous ones
than anything else. Here are the top 3 and the lessons they’ve taught parents
The Drake “In My Feelings” Challenge
The “In My Feelings” Challenge had kids walking along the passenger side of a car dancing the choreographed steps to the Drake song. Most times, the car was rolling along with no help from acceleration, so the speed was close to nothing. While it could have been mostly harmless if kids chose to do the challenge in an empty cul-de-sac or a quiet street, many accepted the challenge at stop lights and on regular-traffic, two-lane roads. (link1 and link2)
Putting themselves in the way of passing cars
Not slowing the car enough and injuring
themselves getting out
Any challenge involving a car is mostly dangerous, especially when the passengers/drivers are barely legal or not legal to drive the vehicle.
Tide Pod Challenge
This challenge needs little explanation at this point. Earlier in 2017-18, kids decided to start eating Tide Pods. Toxic laundry detergent. It’s not necessarily new that kids ingest things they shouldn’t. But the U.S. poison control centers had 10,000 calls because of the pods in 2017 alone. (link)
I confess, when I was in middle school/high school, many kids were eating mouthfuls of cinnamon and choking when their mouths got too dry. They also tried the “Chubby Bunny” challenge. They stuffed their mouths as full as they could with marshmallows. Many people ended up choking or throwing up.
Using a poisonous substance
Using items for something other than their
Even though your tweens are growing up and you don’t think you have to remind them not to eat unsafe items…
…remind them not to eat unsafe items.
This is when the subject sits on the ground, motioning like they’re shifting gear in a car, and a second person pulls their legs, so they speed away out of the frame. (link1 and link2)
Pulling the subject so hard they smack their
head off the ground
It looked harmless on the surface, but having
someone else in control of your body will likely result in injury at some point
2019 is looking a little more
promising when it comes to challenges.
So far, we’ve seen the “What the
Fluff” Challenge, confusing dogs by “disappearing” behind a blanket; the “Snoot”
challenge, making a hole with your fingers and having dogs stick their noses in
it; and the “Trash Tag” challenge, encouraging people to take before and after
pictures of an area of nature filled with trash and cleaning it up.
The moral of the story is not all challenges are bad, but analyze the challenges you see popping up on your social media and ask yourself (a) would my kid try this, and (b) do I want them trying this.
But remember, many times your kid will see a new viral challenge before you do. Encourage them to practice commons sense and think about the consequences of their actions.
For a little bit more from us on pop culture and social media, try…