Dangerous online challenges
- BIK Team
In each edition of the BIK bulletin, we look at a topical issue – in the latestedition, we look at online challenges from the perspectives of various stakeholders. Geert Reynders, who lost his son Tim to a dangerous online challenge, shares his views on the issue and on how different actors can play their part in ensuring young people remain safe online. His perspective is complemented with that of the European network of Safer Internet Centres, young people, educators, researchers and industry.
- Innocent, harmless challenges such as the bottle flip challenge.
- Challenges that start out innocently, but can end up dangerously, such as the cinnamon challenge.
- Challenges that are clearly dangerous right from the start, such as the Momo challenge (although, despite the reported severity, in the case of Momo it was found to be a hoax as there are no known cases of young people suffering harm as a result of it).
- Tension/sensation – the dangerous element of a challenge makes it attractive and almost "addictive" to participate in.
- Curiosity – trying out something new.
- Strengthening friendships – sharing your participation with friends and thereby feeling a sense of "belonging".
- Increasing their popularity – getting attention from others, in the form of more views, likes and followers on social media.
- UK Safer Internet Centre
Online challenges and crazes have become a key trend to be aware of when supporting and educating young people about how to stay safe online. Challenges come in many forms and can involve upsetting, harmful or viral content. Over the last few years we have seen a range of online challenges. Some, such as the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge and the No Makeup Selfie, can promote and raise money for great causes. However, other challenges such as "pain challenges", and "Neck Nominate" videos can harm young people and adults who take part. It is important that – whether a challenge is rumoured or real – educators have the tools they need and are ready to deal with such challenges and are able to support young people.
- BIK Youth Ambassadors
What's the difference between a rational adult and a teenager? Nowadays, the answer may lie within one's reaction to being challenged with eating dish soap or spraying aerosol gasses into a lighter flame while indoors. This article aims to capture the youth angle on the issue of viral online challenges and the motives behind the seemingly irrational behaviours of many young people across the globe. To this end, we have interviewed three Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Youth Ambassadors. The valuable insights and observations they provided established the basis of this article, and shed light on how young people see this new trend of online challenges.
- UK Safer Internet Centre
In February 2019, the "Momo Suicide Challenge" caused worry in homes and schools across the United Kingdom. Fuelled by sensationalist headlines and misinformation on social media, the hoax quickly escalated into a moral panic with parents fearing for the safety of their children.