Yet another social media challenge has emerged, and this one is worse than all the others.
Posts of this new challenge have been all over social media over the past year, showing pictures of scarred hands and arms with the hashtag ‘#eraserchallenge’. But the full risk of this challenge can obviously not be seen by those participating.
‘The Eraser Challenge’ is a game that involves violently rubbing an eraser on one’s skin while reciting the alphabet. The ‘winner’, if you can even call them that, is whoever has the largest burn or scar.
Dr. Michael Cooper, director of the Burn Center at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, expressed his concerns with the new fad.
“The eraser challenge may cause pain, burns to the skin, scarring, local infections,” he said, adding that “in severe though rare cases, life-threatening sepsis, gangrene and loss of limb may occur.”
Dr. Angela Mattke, Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, agreed with Cooper, writing:
“Anytime the skin barrier is broken down, there is an increased risk of skin infections. Burns, whether from heat or chemicals, result in a break of the natural skin barrier. The skin barrier’s job is to keep bad things out like potential infection causing bacteria.”
Of course, this is not the only harmful social media challenge out there. For example, the salt and ice challenge, where children would put both ice and salt on their hands or arms. This mixture would cause a reaction that painfully freezes the person’s skin. The goal is to put up with the pain for as long as possible, and, once again, pictures of burn scars could be seen all over social media.
With kids finding amusement in their own self-mutilation, what is a parent to do? Well, Dr. Robert Glatter says that intervention is key.
“If you find unexplained abrasions or wounds on your child’s arms or legs, it’s vital to ask them if they have been engaged in this challenge,” said Dr. Glatter. He added “Parents need to have a frank discussion with their children about the dangers associated with the eraser challenge.”
Social media has caused children to crave attention more than ever, and these challenges are a dangerous way of fulfilling that desire.
If you’ve noticed any abnormal marks on your child or are worried that they may consider joining this horrific new social media”challenge” here are a few helpful tips:
1. Explain the definition of “peer pressure”, and give some related & non-related examples of what it can look like.
2. Remind them that it can be hard to say ‘no’ to your friends, but it is not okay for them to pressure them, and it’s not their fault.
3. Explain that by saying no, you are being the bigger person. Teach them to say no with confidence. Ask them if they’ve ever practiced or had to say “no.”
4. Teach them to be the kind of person who encourages others to do something positive instead of self-destructive.
As a parent, it is your job to explain these dangers, for the safety of your child. Share this to help put an end to these ridiculous games!