HOUSTON (KIAH) — A Massachusetts teen died in September after his family said he participated in a social media challenge. This one involved eating an extremely spicy chip.
One pediatric emergency room doctor said he regularly treats children who have been injured as the result of a challenge on social media. But why are social media trends, especially dangerous ones, so appealing to children and teens? As turns out, it’s all in their heads.
“Teens are at a unique part in their brain growth, where that risk-taking part of their brain, their amygdala, that fight-or-flight part gets really excited and releases a lot of dopamine. Doing something that’s potentially dangerous, or that they see others in their peer group doing, is extremely enticing,” said Dr. Dominic Lucia of Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center.
Dr. Lucia advised parents to speak to their children about what they’re seeing online and help them think of ways to double-check whether a challenge could be harmful.