Does the Zoom Challenge represent a danger for your child?

Are you in the Zoom Challenge  circle ? You’ve probably already heard about it! The Zoom Challenge is the most recent challenge circulating on social media.

The principle is quite simple. The participants, all of whom are children, sit on the floor. They film each other miming a car driver, behind the wheel, while listening to rap. From the moment the rapper says the word “  zoom  ”, the child on whom the camera is trained finds himself violently and abruptly thrown out of the frame… by his legs. The aim here is to reproduce the sudden starting conditions of vehicles with the risk of hitting your head on the ground due to the movement .

What makes this game so frightening from a parental point of view is its ability to spread through the minds of young people like a virus, thus making them addicted. The more young people carry out this experience by publishing videos on social networks, the more their peers (other children) seek to compete with them, and to do better than them: faster and stronger.

The Zoom Challenge, as we have mentioned, is an extremely popular “game” around the world. But this game is not the only danger young people face on the web. The internet is full of many dangers, each with its own operating principle. The common point is of course social networks.

How widespread are these dangerous games? 

To show you the extent of this damage, we have listed some examples for you, with the definition of the principle and the consequences that follow.

  • Premier exemple: «Tide Pod Challenge».

The principle of this game consists of a child eating a certain amount of detergent made from plastic while filming himself and publishing the video on social media. The other children, seeing the reaction of the one on video, will try to do better than the latter, just to take up the challenge . As you can well imagine, this challenge turns out to be particularly dangerous for your health, given the dose of poisons contained in the laundry detergent. The Tide Pod Challenge brought more than 250 young people into the emergency departments of hospital training, and this in just 6 months.

  • Second example: Blue Whale Challenge .

The designers of the game were inspired by a Russian fable which says that Blue Whales have the ability to kill themselves. The child who participates (between 10 and 1-years old) will have to take on a challenge during the 50 days that the game lasts. The game begins with rather mundane and simple tests such as drawing a whale , or talking with a whale .

Very quickly, the challenges become more difficult and the game takes on a sinister aspect : from now on you have to get up in the firmament of the night in order to follow sad music, watch videos showing suicides, stand up and hold onto the leaning against a window (with the risk of falling and hurting yourself), becoming associable, cracking your lips, etc., until the final stage: committing suicide by jumping off a roof/bridge or by throwing himself under a train.

  • Third example: The scarf game .

This is also another challenge that is very popular on the web. The principle consists of squeezing your throat with a belt, a scarf, or any tool that can help you strangle yourself, until you completely lose consciousness.

Although since 2007, many institutions and associations have fiercely fought for the banning of this game, it still enjoys a certain popularity among young people aged 7 to 18. There are also around ten deaths each year due to the scarf game.

  • Fourth example: the Ice and Salt Challenge .

It’s a game where children have to place ice and salt on their skin, of course this will result in frostbite. The real challenge will be to endure the pain as much as possible, then post your video on social networks. You can imagine that these practices leave quite serious burns on the skin of those concerned.

What to do about the dangers of these games?

Faced with all these dangers that young people face daily on the internet, several tips have been put in place to help parents protect their offspring. This is why we have listed some practical tips that you can use.

  • Start by asking your child about the existence of the zoom challenge. Ask him if he has ever heard of the Zoom Challenge or any other similar challenge. If he answers yes, then just go ahead and explain to him the harmful consequences of these games on his health. If he admits to having already engaged in this type of play, immediately contact a health specialist for appropriate follow-up.
  • Some of these challenges, such as the Blue Whale, recruit directly on social media. They seek their target among young people addicted to networking. Generally speaking, these recruiters present a blue whale on their profile. As a parent, you can schedule alerts with keywords, which will notify you as soon as there is an attempt to contact your child.
  • You can opt for blocking . This involves using parental control applications (more precisely the remote application blocking functionality ), to block the channels that recruiters use to contact your children online.
  • You can keep your eyes open to your child’s physical condition. More specifically, this involves watching for marks or bruises on the neck, or trying to detect the presence of unusual-looking blood vessels on the eyelids or face. If you detect any signs, take your child directly to a doctor.

One obvious aspect: when it comes to fighting against the dangers of the Internet that threaten their children, parents are not left to their own fate. Several techniques and methods are developed. Only the best alternative is to help your children become aware for themselves of the harm these games cause them to suffer. Subsequently, teach them how to behave and stay safe when connected to the internet.

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