Tombstoning is one of the most dangerous activities going around – and it’ is taking place coast to coast. It’s taking the lives of many young people and injuring countless others. While there are resources out there to prevent it from happening, it is peer pressure that’s causing many people to take the leap of faith – and many have not lived to tell about it.
What is tombstoning?
Tombstoning is the activity that involves taking a leap off of a cliff and plunging into the water below. Depending upon where there are cliffs, this can be extremely dangerous because of the height of the cliff as well as the conditions below.
According to ROSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, tombstoning has a number of dangers, including:
– Water depths
– Submerged items can be dangerous
– Shock of cold water makes it hard to swim
– Getting out of the water can be harder
– Strong currents can carry people
Statistics show that from 2004 to 2008, there were 139 incidents that sent people to the emergency room and 12 of them ended in fatality, which is just under 10 percent. These statistics are likely to be higher in recent years because of those who have decided to take the plunge – and force others to do it along with them.
There are some things for kids to know when deciding to take a jump. No one should jump into the water without knowing all of the details. Tides need to be considered as the water depth can change quickly. When jumping 10 meters, it can take 5 meters of water in order to absorb the full fall. If the water is only 3 meters, this can lead to a number of injuries and potentially even death.
When there are caves and other issues in the neighboring area, it may be impossible for a person to get out of the water upon jumping in. There may be cliffs all around, which would require a very long swim in order to find a shore line. When there are currents and other issues, it may be virtually impossible for a person to swim long enough to get out – which means they have to tread long enough for a rescue boat to come for them.
The true story of the dangers of Tombstoning:
Tombstoning in the News
The DailyMail recently released an article about tombstoning and how it is becoming more popular as students succumb to peer pressure to do something dangerous. The dangers are increased as many are performing stunts while taking the jump. This includes such things as back flips and somersaults.
Countless stories are popping up where students are going out on cliffs late at night. Some of these trips involve the use of drugs or alcohol. Everyone takes a leap, those that don’t are made fun of, and often, calls to 911 are placed as a way to deal with those who have been badly injured or who never made it up out of the water.
What Parents Can Do
Parents need to have conversations with their children about what the risks are about jumping into the water. Even if they have done it in the past or they have known friends that due, there are significant dangers that exist – and the risks can change from day to day because of the water levels and various other factors.
Everyone needs to know what is tombstoning because it can go by different names. If parents hear about their children talking about going to do this activity, they need to discourage it and explain the risks. The only way to prevent injuries and potentially death is for both parties to be knowledgeable about the topic at hand.
Parents should have information about the dangers laid out clearly. This can include providing statistics on the injuries that have happened as well as what the risks are that the kids may not be aware of. The more information that can be presented, the better. Knowledge is often a deterrent because they won’t want to risk their lives.
More Young People Risk Their Lives Jumping off a Pier:
Peer Pressure and Tombstoning
The biggest problem with tombstoning is the peer pressure. As soon as one person jumps, the pressure is on for everyone else to jump because they don’t want to be left out. When a person asks, “What is tombstoning?” it usually includes an invitation to go out with the group of people so that they can jump as well. This is often where kids go in order to feel as though they are part of the “in” crowd.
Peer pressure is a form of bullying because it goes against what a person feels comfortable with. Most people are not going to jump off of a cliff and into the water below unless they have some kind of motivation to do so. When they have friends (or at least acquaintances) urging them to do it and potentially calling them names if they don’t, that provides the motivation for someone to take the jump even though they probably wouldn’t do such a thing in a normal circumstance.
This makes it harder for parents to identify such problems because they would say to themselves “my child would never jump off of a cliff and into the water”. This is not the case with tombstoning, however, because it involves a significant amount of peer pressure (read bullying). This means that all bets are off and a kid may find him or herself in a position where they feel forced to jump off the cliff when all of their peers are doing the same thing.
The statistics are out there to show that people are getting hurt and losing their lives from doing this activity. The only way to prevent it from happening is to have open conversations with kids about the dangers. Parents need to do their part to learn about the activity as a way to warn against it, too.
Resources for Peer Pressure and Bullying
A person may feel peer pressure and a sense of bullying long before they make it to the top of a cliff to go tombstoning with his or her peers. There are resources available to learn about how to deal with this pressure and how to move past it without literally taking the plunge. There is support online as well as with hotlines. Having these available to teens to be able to call in an anonymous way can be of the utmost importance.
NoBullying.com is a dedicated resource to eradicate bullying. News, resources, and tips are provided for kids, parents, and teachers on an array of topics to help end bullying so that everyone can get through life unharmed.