How to find the safest social media challenges; things every parent should know

CNN—Viral social media stunts are all the rage and kids are especially susceptible to trying them out and broadcasting the results online.

In most cases, kids are watching these challenges on YouTube purely for entertainment, but some challenges inspire kids to try them out themselves. These stunts range from harmless to horrifying: There are the silly ones (such as the Mannequin Challenge); the helpful ones (like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge); and the slightly risky ones (such as the Make Your Own Slime Challenge).

But sometimes, challenges are downright dangerous, resulting in physical injury and possibly even death. In fact, the safe ones can be fun for families to try. While there could be a new one as soon as tomorrow, they do seem to fall into certain categories, and there’s some universal advice that parents can follow, no matter the challenge.

Stay (somewhat) up to date. Ask your kid about what’s happening in their lives when they’re not distracted — even when it seems like they don’t want you to. Sometimes kids are more willing to talk about what’s going on with other kids than with themselves, so pose questions about friends, school, and trends. Once the conversation is open, you can get a sense of what your kid thinks about the latest craze — and if they’re safe. Keep an open mind and intervene if you’re concerned. Say, “Would you consider doing a viral stunt if someone asked you? Which ones would you do and not do?”

Model responsible online habits. Some parents are the ones recording their kids taking these challenges, so make sure your involvement sends the message you intend. Today it might be harmless, but tomorrow it might be more dangerous. Help your kids make the distinction so they can stay safe. Say, “Let’s do a funny challenge together, but we’ll only film it if you want to, and we’ll only share it with family.”

Below are some of the hottest family friendly challenges that have swept social media:

Jello Slime Challenge: A safer alternative for friends to make homemade slime without the hazardous Borax One ingredient.

 

Saltine Cracker Challenge:The saltine cracker challenge or saltine challenge is a food challenge or competition in which a person has 60 seconds in which to eat six saltine soda crackers without drinking anything.

Warhead challenge: You and your friends compete to see how many pieces of candy can you put in your mouth and keep them there the longest.

 

Bottle-Flipping Challenge:  Partly fill a plastic water bottle and toss it in such a way that it lands right-side up. This one got so popular they made apps to replicate the experience.