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New technologies have made life easier for people in many ways, but they have also had an impact on the way people think, do and live. In this way, technological development has penetrated the depths of our society and at all levels, causing a change in the values and behavior of individuals. In this new circumstance, arise new challenges for parents who seek the safety of their children. One of them are dangerous viral games that continually become fashionable.
New technologies have caused changes when it comes to communicating. Through social networks such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or WhatsApp, among others, we are able to interact with people who are far away from us. In other words, thanks to new technologies relationships have been universalized breaking down the 'borders' that separated them.
The possibility of being connected 24 hours a day from the smartphone, tablet or PC facilitates the massive dissemination of ideas and content, either through social networks, instant messaging or email.
Among all the content that spreads through the network we can find the so-called viral games. These, in general, appear anonymously and when shared on the Internet their fame grows and becomes fashionable. The games are usually videos that propose a challenge or 'challenge'. They tend to be very striking, especially for tweens and teenagers who see them as something humorous, without being aware that they are sometimes dangerous for the person who performs them.
There are and have been many viral games. Among the most famous and dangerous we find:
- The 'eye vodka challenge' (2010). This challenge consisted of ingesting alcohol through the eye and thus getting a quick 'high'.
- The 'cinnamon challenge' (2012). The game consisted of swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon powder in the shortest possible time and without drinking any water. Since it is impossible to swallow without coughing, most end up expelling the cinnamon through their mouth and nose. The teenagers were very amused, but in reality, this game was very dangerous as doing so caused suffocation, sore throat and collapsed lung.
- The 'ice and salt challenge' (2013). This game consisted of putting salt on the skin and pressing ice against it, causing a sensation that reaches temperatures of up to 17 degrees below zero, which causes considerable burns.
- The 'duct tape challenge' (2016). The game tries to wrap a person with duct tape, from head to toe, and he has to get free in the shortest possible time.
- The blue whale (2016). This challenge was based on a list of 50 challenges that involved tests such as cutting the wrists or jumping from a building. The end of this game was the search for self-harm and suicide.
- 'In my feelings challenge' (2018). The objective of this game was to perform a choreography with a moving car on public roads, which caused numerous accidents and injuries to those who practice it.
- Momo (2018-2019). Although it was discovered that it was fake news, the face of Momo's monster came to terrorize children around the world.
- 'Bird Box challenge' (2019). This challenge consists of uploading videos or photographs in which tasks and activities are performed blindfolded, taking as a reference the film 'Birdbox'.
- 'The devil's alphabet' (2019). It is not a new challenge, since a few years ago it became fashionable, but now it has returned. It is a game that consists of injuring the other who participates while reciting the alphabet. This has spread among schools by word of mouth, but also through social networks.
- The Skullbreaker (2020). This challenge is a variant of previous ones. It consists of two children who jump at the same time and when the third is going to jump, the previous ones trip him. This game (which has also been seen with children causing others to fall with a scarf) is a real danger because it can cause very strong blows to the victim.
The police and experts are continuously warning about the danger of this type of game that has become fashionable. To do this, they ask for the collaboration of the adults who are in the environment closest to the little ones to be able to stop the viral games and prevent them from practicing and spreading them.
Therefore, the first thing parents and teachers have to do is not look the other way. Thus, it is also advisable:
1. Be attentive
It is important to pay attention to detect strange behaviors that are out of the daily routine of children or adolescents.
2. Let there be dialogue
It is important that parents connect fluently with their teenagers to supervise what they do on the Internet, always respecting their privacy. It is important to create a climate of trust.
3. Do not ban
Depriving the adolescent of the Internet will not be the solution. The net has many good things that will make you learn and gain skills if you use it correctly. There will be the effort of adults: to teach how to use it correctly.
If we consider it appropriate, we can also activate the different functionalities of mobile phones and parental control social networks, explaining to children that we do it as a security measure.
4. Set limits
The limits and norms will be fundamental to establish a series of rules for the good use of the Internet.
5. Correct use of the Network
Schools, teachers and parents must encourage minors to use the Internet in a responsible way. To do this, a network must be created where everyone comes together to protect and support the adolescent so that they feel safe and do not need challenges to find a feeling of belonging to something.
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