Salt and Ice Challenge: A Deadly Trend that can Hinder Your Teen’s Future
Teenagers are always looking for new ways to channel their energies and instill some excitement into their lives. Some get interested in sports, while others may turn their attention to fashions, music, movies or video games. The Internet offers a whole new world of entertainment, diversion and socialization through such sites as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with young people keeping up with the latest happenings, there are some dangerous trends parents should be aware of. The salt and ice challenge recently featured in many YouTube videos is one such trend that teens should definitely avoid. If you’ve never heard of the salt and ice challenge, you’re in for a shocking surprise.
How to Do the Salt and Ice Challenge
The salt and ice challenge has been around for several years. It resurfaced recently on YouTube and has moved on to become a national phenomenon. Hundreds, if not thousands, of young teens are taking up this challenge and suffering from the harmful results. The challenge seems simple enough, starting off with teens taking ordinary salt and pouring it on some part of their body such as arms, legs, neck, back, etc. They then place ice on top of the salt and wait for a burning reaction to occur. The whole idea of the challenge is to see how long the teen can endure the pain of the salt/ice reaction on his skin. Meanwhile, a friend or sibling is videoing the entire episode to be posted later on the YouTube site.
Although some discomfort is expected, most teens are not prepared for the excruciating pain they experience as a result. Neither are they prepared for the risk of causing permanent damage to their skin, long term suffering or the aftermath of dealing with a permanent salt and ice challenge scar. According to medical professionals, the combination of salt and ice on the skin produces a chemical reaction that absorbs heat from a person’s body. This lowers body temperature substantially, resulting in frostbite or first or second degree burns on the affected parts of the teen’s body. The extent of damage depends on where the mixture is placed and how long it is kept on.
Many teens who accepted the challenge had to be treated for serious burns afterwards. Some teens had to be hospitalized as part of their salt and ice challenge treatment. Due to the amount of cases being treated nationwide, doctors are now going public about the dangers of this activity and the harm it can cause. Many victims are also warning their peers not to partake of the activity, showing graphic pictures of their salt and ice challenge burn online to get the message across.
The Salt and Ice Challenge YouTube may be the latest craze teens are getting into, but it’s not the only one. There are many other dangerous teen fads being promoted over the Net to include the choking game and cinnamon challenge. In the choking game, teens are encouraged to literally strangle themselves, cutting off their air supply until they pass out. The cinnamon challenge consists of teens trying to swallow a spoon of cinnamon powder without using water or other liquids to wash it down, resulting in choking.
What Prompts Risky Behavior in Teens?
Most teens attempt some form of risky activity at some point in their lives. Taking risks seems to be in the nature of kids as they grow into their teen years. For some teens, risky behavior is a one way to get attention from their parents or peers. Sometimes classmates and friends urge teens to participate in risky activities as part of a competition or for fun. Participating in high risk activities can help a teen stand out in a cool way so they’ll be accepted by the “in” crowd. Some teens enjoy the thrill of taking risks while others are trying to prove themselves or build up their courage. Even smart teens have been known to do stupid things from time to time just “because.”
The salt and ice challenge is but one example of risky behavior trending today. With modern technology, kids can learn of the latest trends quicker than ever before. Young teens, in particle, are more impressionable and quick to pick up on risky behavior just for the fun. After watching videos of risky activities on YouTube, it’s only natural for young teens to be tempted to give it a try, especially if their friends are already involved. As a parent, it’s important to keep track of what your young teens are into to protect them from possible harm.
In many households today, both parents work fulltime, especially as kids grow older and don’t require as much physical care. While this arrangement may work well financially, it often makes it difficult to spend quality time with your family or supervise your teen’s academic and extra-curricular activities. If a teen is left to his own devices, it’s easier for him to succumb to negative peer pressure and get involved in risky business that can cause him harm.
Teens are known for their impulsive behavior. They often make decisions before they have had a chance to think things through. Teens and pre-teens need role models in their lives as well as parental guidance and supervision to keep them on the right track. By staying involved in your teen and pre-teen’s life, you’re more apt to be aware of dangerous trends like the salt and ice challenge and can protect your teen from them before he learns the hard way.
Other Trends Your Teen Should Avoid
The salt and ice challenge is but one of many dangerous crazes teens face today. Other risky trends that are rapidly growing in popularity among young people today are:
- The Fire Challenge
- Dirty Sprite
- Synthetic Pot and
- Texting while Walking or Driving
In the fire challenge, teens are expected to pour some form of flammable liquid on their body and light it to set themselves on fire. They then have to find a way to extinguish the flames quickly before they are seriously burned. In the meantime, their “challenge” is being recorded on video to be uploaded on YouTube, Facebook or other social site for all to see.
As incredible as it may sound, thousands of teens across the country have accepted this challenge and posted their videos online. Many have suffered serious burns requiring long term burn treatment and hospitalization. Doctors and members of the American Burn Association have issued warnings to both parents and teens concerning the risks of such foolish and dangerous acts.
Synthetic pot (marijuana) goes by a number of names to include “spice”, “K2” and “Scooby snacks.” This alternative drug to real marijuana is considered “cool” by teen standards but nothing could be further from the truth. Synthetic pot, manufactured in eastern countries as well as the U.S., contains dangerous chemicals that can cause serious damage to body organs. Hospitals across the country are reporting an increase in emergency room visits due to teens experimenting with this drug. So far, one death directly linked to the use of this drug has been reported in California.
Dirty Sprite refers to a new drink teens are experimenting with in their local parties. The drink combines Sprite with Jolly Rancher candy and prescription medications or cough syrup containing codeine. Teens can find recipes of this drink online as well as videos showing how to make it. Many teens are discovering too late just how harmful and addictive this drink can be.
If you suspect your teen may be experimenting with this drink, take action right away. First, secure your medications so your teen cannot gain access to this essential ingredient for making the drink. Next, talk to your teen about the dangers of getting hooked on this or any other type of drugs. Most teens are naïve about these topics and only get involved to follow the crowd. Your genuine concern and intervention could keep him from making serious mistakes that can destroy his future.
Texting and driving is yet another means for teens to look cool in the eyes of their peers, despite the dangers it poses to causing accidents. YouTube videos posted online show teens carrying on multiple text conversations with friends while on the road. In addition to texting and driving, many teens are getting into texting while walking, even when crossing dangerous intersections and streets. Such behavior puts both your teen and others at risk. Parents can help curtail this type of behavior by discussing responsible cell phone usage with their teen and setting guidelines before gifting them their first mobile. No texting while walking or driving should be top on this list. In this way, you can help your teen develop good cell phone use habits.
Parental Responsibility to Curtail Risky Behavior
Although risky behavior is part and parcel of adolescence, parents have a responsibility to protect their kids as much as possible and teach them to make responsible decisions. Teens put a lot of stock into the opinions of their friends and peers. This can be a good thing, if their friends are mature and responsible. If not, teens may wind up making poor choices and suffering the consequences of their bad decisions. Following the latest trends such as the fire challenge, salt and ice challenge and texting while driving could result in teens suffering serious consequences for years to come. Letting your teen experiment with such trends to “learn valuable lessons” in these situations may not be the best course of action.
When it comes to young teens, parents need to learn when to draw the line in their teen’s actions and behavior. Setting boundaries is one way you can help your teen stay within safe limits until he is ready to make mature and responsible choices on his own. Maintaining an open line of communication with your teen can also help in reducing risky behavior. Take time to express your concerns about his or her choices and listen to your teen’s side of the story. Through open dialogue, you stand a greater chance of reaching a mutual agreement on actions and behavior that gives your teen the independence he seeks with the guidelines he needs.
How to Encourage Positive Behavior
As a parent, you can do much to encourage positive behavior in your teen. It’s only natural for teens to test the waters during adolescence as they strive to find their footing. Rebellious behavior can be intimidating for a parent. However, it shouldn’t stop you from fulfilling your parental responsibilities. Young teens need positive parental influence in their lives. At the age of 13-16 years, teens simply don’t have the experience or maturity to go it alone. Most adolescents appreciate having parents who are concerned about their welfare and want to see them safe and happy.
One way to help teens make better decisions is to challenge them with high expectations. Teens that have a vision and goals for their future tend to be more self-confident and secure in their academic and social standing. This makes them less interested in temporary trends or thrills that can distract them from reaching their objectives. As a parent, you can help motivate your teen by supporting him in his efforts to reach his goals. Adolescence is a time of growth, creativity and learning. By having faith in your teen and maintaining a positive perspective that he will succeed, you encourage him to do his best to meet those expectations.
When parents and teens work together for a happier, brighter future, everyone wins. Teens that have the support of family and friends don’t need to partake of risky teen trends like the salt and ice challenge to prove themselves or gain the approval of others. With your help, your teen can learn the value of standing up for what he believes in and make wise decisions that will benefit him both now and in the future.