Dangerous social media challenges spread among teens - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Dangerous social media challenges spread among teens

Amarillo, TX - A dangerous new activity is trending among teens on social media forums.

Local doctors and The Amarillo Fire Department says the "fire challenge" and the "pass out challenge" are a disturbing trend.

The fire challenge is when someone pours flammable liquids onto their body and then light themselves on fire and the pass out challenge is when someone intentionally makes themselves pass out. There are thousands of videos on YouTube and other social media sites of teens participating in theses challenges.

Reports of those challenges going wrong are popping up all over the US. A local doctor, Mariada George, says the pass out challenge could cause permanent brain damage or worse. "How do you know that you have not held off oxygen for too long? if you don't have enough oxygen, you can die," said George.

Doctor George says the fire challenge could do permanent damage as well. "If you have a big enough burn and you don't die from it, you may need skin graphs, not to mention the PTSD you can get from having such a trauma or that other people can get from watching these videos," said George.

Larry Davis with The Amarillo Fire Department says if a teen engages in the fire challenge they are not only putting themselves at risk, but everyone around them as well. "These fires can grow very fast, if they are pouring a flammable liquid on themselves, they not only risk hurting themselves, but they can hurt everyone around them by setting their own house on fire doing this" said Davis.

We spoke with Tim Bowles in Texas Tech's Department of Psychiatry, about how much of a role social media can play on teenagers. "I think kids have an inflated image of themselves at times, they don't realize how much it can impact their community and their bubble if they do challenges like this. I think they think they can make something funny for a lifetime, but in reality, they don't think ahead and think ... what are the consequences in the future," said Bowles.

All three professionals agree that for parents, maintaining open communication with their kids about the risks involved with these challenges, is key to preventing them from happening.
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