Kids do a lot of silly things in the hope of going viral. Now it’s the Tide Pod Challenge! The challenge is to consume a Tide laundry detergent pod, on camera, and post it on social media. According to Consumer Reports, after the release of the Pods there were increased calls to poison control centers due to children consuming the product. Do they look like candy? Maybe. But still, what may have begun as a mere joke was popularized via the web and became a dangerous and potentially life-threatening activity among teens.
Poison control centers are ringing their alarm bells because Tide Pod’s ingredients burn the mouth and the esophagus. As a result, children may sustain internal injuries, choke and even lose consciousness. Eating the Pods also provokes vomiting, elevates blood pressure and may even cause heart failures in very specific circumstances. Worse, a child can end up having seizures which, if not stopped in time, can damage the brain.
What can parents do about it?
Here are some actionable tips to keep your kid’s from participating in the challenge:
Know your child’s psyche and emotional state.
The participation doesn’t start with the child’s interest. It starts with the child’s psyche and emotional state which must be supervised. For example, if a kid is proactive or has ADHD diagnosis, parents should manage their activity and anticipate its healthy application. In other words, kids look for adventures to fulfill their strength and hyperactivity. It’s up to a parent to channel them correctly.
Find your child’s role models.
If your kid follows Logan Paul, prankster, practicing dangerous activities and posting them on YouTube, they are likely to imitate them.
Be aware of what nurtures your kid’s brain and fuels their behavior.
In 2014, two girls who tried to kill their friend had been spending months on the site Creepypasta full of horror stories. They met there the fictional character Slenderman and believed they should become his followers. The first step was to commit a murder.
- Find out if they watch, like, post about the challenge on social media. Learn about the challenge everything to be ready to talk to a kid.
- Use a parental control app like mSpy, Norton family, etc. as a monitoring tool. You might find the challenge’s groups shared among participants or chatting on the subject via social media messengers. You can find the challenge’s instigator or initiator.
- Talk to your kid seriously. Explain all possible health repercussions.
- Turn to a school teacher or even a principal to make sure the subject is well covered at school among other kids.
If your child got into it, you should:
- Go see a doctor since the health consequences are inevitable and a medical treatment is a must.
- Always talk and without judging explain why a kid shouldn’t partake of similar games and challenges.
- Call toll-free support lines like Crisis Call Center or Lifeline Crisis Chat to get support and guidance.
- Check whether your kid’s participation is caused by some psyche issues with a family therapist or psychologist. Also, it is important when recovering.
- Monitor your child’s online activity to find out if there’s a peer pressure. The latter literally incentivizes kids to do all horrible things on the web.
- Isolate your kid from dangerous triggers that cause the participation: a person from social media, a classmate whose attitude is toxic and unhealthy, a bully, etc.
With the Internet’s advent, it became easier for people to spread unhealthy ideas and activities. It intensifies the threat to the kids’ sanity and safety nowadays. Thus, the parents’ primary mission is to raise their personal awareness and prevent kids from possible dangers.
By Ava Sage
Ava is an e-safety expert and a tech-life coach from Chicago. She’s also mom to a 14-year-old.