Children and adolescents are increasingly on the Internet and this has many advantages thanks to the fact that it allows them to develop creativity or access tools that help them practice mathematics, languages. But it also has many risks. Viral challenges for children and adolescents are one of the main dangers of the Internet and we must take them into account.
What are viral challenges?
Viral challenges are videos or actions that become popular on the Internet as “games between friends” and that many children and adolescents copy to upload their own version and reach as many young people as possible, inviting them to do the same. And this supposes a high risk for them since they are usually dangerous, violent challenges or that incite suicide in addition to problems related to the information of minors, anxiety, etc.
These viral challenges circulate continuously on the Internet and are in the videos of teenagers and even children who forward them on WhatsApp , who see it on TikTok. An April 2022 study of the TikTok application found that 21% of users between the ages of 13 and 19 had participated in online challenges and all in order to get likes, gain popularity, get along with friends regardless of putting themselves at risk.
Some teenage viral challenges
These are some of the challenges that have been seen on Instagram or TikTok in recent years.
What is Momo? Momo Challenge or Momo Challenge was a false viral challenge used by cybercriminals in which the dark character, which you have surely seen at some point, encourages children and adolescents to commit all kinds of dangerous and violent acts against others or against themselves. In many cases, it has even been used to incite underage children to physical harm or suicide.
In addition, Momo became especially popular or viral due to the fact that many users claimed that the viral challenge was entering children’s content videos on the Internet and was easily reaching all children everywhere.
NO, MOMO NO EXISTE, es un antiguo viral que resurge ahora con algunas modificaciones perjudiciales. Todos podemos colaborar para no propagarlo.— Policía Nacional (@policia) March 21, 2019
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Hunt the posh
Another of the dangerous viral challenges that circulate through networks among adolescents and minors is that of “hunting the posh”. Its name makes it clear to us what it is about. You have to go out and hunt posh people or people with brand name clothes. Accumulate the largest number of “posh” hunted, the largest number of victims. One of the people who does the challenge begins to attack while they record him and later uploads it to the Internet as part of a “grace” with which to accumulate likes .
A viral challenge that begins with a “Do you know me? ” before starting to hit the victim. And that has become popular in applications such as Instagram or TikTok, with women generally being attacked in cities such as Madrid or Seville and causing alarm among minors, parents and teachers.
Condom Snorting Challenge
The National Police in Spain warned of the risks of this viral challenge in 2018. A challenge that consists of using a condom to put it through the nose and take it out through the mouth. A challenge that many youtubers made viral and that involves inhaling with all possible force so that the plastic passes from the pharynx and comes out through the mouth.
Not only is it absurd and unnecessary, but it is a very dangerous challenge that can cause suffocation because the plastic can get stuck in the throat and make the child stop breathing. A very dangerous challenge and totally inadvisable not only for minors but at any age as it could give us a very serious scare.
Throw in the air challenge
Another of the viral challenges among minors and adolescents in recent years has been the Throw in the air challenge. A viral TikTok challenge that consists of throwing something in the air and letting it fall, with the obvious risks that this entails. If it is something light or soft, it is still a curious video to upload to social networks, but the problem with #Throwintheair is that there are not only light and inoffensive things, but users also throw shoes, suitcases and other types of more forceful objects in order to get more ñikes, get more applause and make it “as hard as possible”.
Simply put, the challenge is to get together with friends, put their heads together in a circle, place the mobile to be recorded on the ground and throw an object up and see who hits their head. While everything is recorded. And with the dangers of something falling on your head…
Fainting is not in anyone’s plans and its occurrence is unpleasant and can be synonymous with something serious or an illness. But there are those who cause fainting wanting to record it and upload it to social networks. It is the Knockout Challenge that has gone viral since 2020 on TikTok and other platforms and consists of a person passing out while being recorded, due to loss of oxygen.
How do they do that? Two people stand together. One presses against the wall and the other presses down on her chest until she loses oxygen and passes out . A viral challenge that became popular for months in the classroom and is very dangerous. Any adult or coherent person will understand that this is a bad idea, but the health authorities of some countries warned that this was happening and with serious consequences for minor boys and girls who “played” doing it.
Risks, dangers and tips
These are some of the many challenges that go viral on the Internet and that are available to minors. Teenagers who do them to be cool, to be like everyone else, to get likes , to make friends, to get followers. And they not only pose a risk for privacy or for uploading content to social networks, but the risk goes further: they put their health and life at risk . They can end up with suffocation, they can end up arrested for violence against other people and even some of these cases have ended with suicides.
Associations specializing in childhood warn of psychological risks beyond the obvious risks that we have explained in these paragraphs and insist on the importance of education by parents for responsible use of social networks and the Internet in addition to supervising and accompany the boys and girls or encourage confidence so that they ask or warn instead of doing these challenges.