Keeping Your Child Safe From Dangerous Social Media Challenges
Written by Aaisha Rahim
What you will learn:
- The dangers of social media trends
- How to keep your child safe online
- Current dangerous social media trends to be aware of
We’ve all heard the news about 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, a tragic and distressing situation. Archie was found unconscious in his home after attempting the online ‘Blackout Challenge’, a social media challenge that mainly circulates TikTok. Also referred to as the “Choking Challenge” or the “Passout challenge”, this dangerous trend encourages users to hold their breath for as long as they can until they pass out due to lack of oxygen. According to the CDC, it has led to up to 80 deaths. Archie is now on life support and is in a dire situation.
Our hearts are breaking for Hollie Dance & Paul Battersbee. What they have been through since April and continue to go through is nothing any parent should ever have to experience. Here at the Good Play Guide, we want to address the social media blackout challenge that Archie was suspected to be participating in when he was injured and identify ways to help you, as parents and carers, make sure this doesn’t happen again. As always our thoughts remain with all of Archie’s family and friends.
Keeping Your Child Safe Online:
We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to talk to your children about issues relating to eSafety. Just like any other safety lessons you teach them as they grow up – what not to put in their mouths as babies, how to cross the road safely – from the earliest possible age, it is important to introduce the concerns and responsibilities surrounding online usage.
Here are some general tips and ideas on ways to keep your child safe online:
- Try to keep a dialogue going – continue to ask questions about what they and their friends are doing online and encourage them to share their experiences and concerns.
- Ask them what sites or apps they’ve used that week and get them to tell you why they really liked them
- If you find your child accessing a site or using something you are not comfortable with online, try to suggest an alternative (where possible) that you are comfortable with, rather than just banning that particular site
- Use an article in the paper or a subject in a TV programme your child watches as a starting point for a discussion around internet safety
- Encourage them to never put anything online they wouldn’t say to someone’s face and wouldn’t want themselves or their teachers to see or hear. Being their friend/subscriber/follower may make your child more aware of this (just don’t comment on their posts – it’s embarrassing!)
- Get your children to understand some of your concerns (without terrifying them) using analogies to things they are familiar with
- Ask them to tell you immediately if they see or hear anything they feel uncomfortable with or think they shouldn’t be seeing. If this does happen you need to double-check your safety settings
- Keep usage of the internet and mobile devices within communal parts of the house and keep an eye on what your child is using
Managing Your Child’s Social Media:
Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook all offer great communication possibilities but they are all designed for children over 13 years old. Unlike services designed for younger children, these are not moderated and users are not verified.
This means your child risks being exposed to offensive, illegal or unsuitable content (images, videos or text) for their age group either through their network/friend’s posts or from the advertising within the service. As these services are used so widely by adults, the chances of inappropriate individuals becoming friends with your child is high and this leads to significant concern about grooming and cyber-bullying. Predators can very easily lie about their age and personal details.
Tips for parents:
- Carefully consider whether your child is mature enough to understand how to behave on social media and the reasons for it
- Talk to your child about how they should behave online and ensure they are particularly familiar with the points above
- Become familiar with what’s popular
Dangerous TikTok Trends:
The ‘Blackout Challenge” is not the first, and is definitely not the only dangerous challenge circulating on social media right now. Cyberpurify has listed 9 Dangerous Tiktok Trends to be aware of and to keep your child safe from.