TikTok is a social media platform of short videos that many adults find fun and enjoyable and even more young people are on to participate in fun dance trends and other types of video content.
But there’s a more sinister side to the platform when it comes to their now infamous and often dangerous challenges.
Recently, the One Chip Challenge has been all over the news for it’s extreme danger to young people including the death of a teen in Massachusetts after participating in the challenge. The One Chip Challenge is a social media trend promoted by Paqui, a tortilla chip company that sells individual packages containing a single chip that contains some of the hottest peppers on the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) scale which rates the capsaicin (spiciness) level of peppers.
Paqui has been clear that these chips are only intended for adults and that labeling shows it’s not for children or anyone sensitive to spicy foods. The company has now pulled their product from store shelves due to the danger.
We all know that despite warnings, kids, teens and young adults in particular are prone to risk-taking or not fully understanding the danger of challenges like this especially when they long to fit in and be out on social media as part of a trend.
To help prevent a similar situation from happening in your home we’ve got some tips to help prevent these challenges from becoming a safety issue.
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Check out the platform yourself: Being on TikTok and seeing firsthand what’s trending can help you as a parent or grandparent to be on top of what might be appealing to the young person in your life so you can start a conversation about what’s happening and help model what’s safe and what’s not.
Talk to your kids about the real pressure to fit in: This is a larger issue but peer pressure is very real and kids (and even some adults) often join these challenges to fit in and connect. Have a conversation about those feelings as everyone understands that desire but when it becomes a health and safety danger, that’s when kids need to understand the risk.
Explain some of the challenges that have gone wrong: Scare tactics can be helpful depending on the kid and sharing some of the TikTok trends that have gone very wrong may help the young person in your life to think twice before risking their own health and well-being.
Build trust with your kids: Although many kids and young adults don’t want to admit that they need you…they do! Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, being a trusted adult in their lives can make a huge difference so keep those communication lines open and you just may avoid a challenge gone wrong.
For further safety on TikTok, the Child Rescue Coalition, offers the following six tips to keep your kids safe on TikTok:
- Adjust your child’s privacy settings. For kids under 16, we recommend setting their account to private. With a private account, only users you approve can follow you and view your videos. Let them interact with only people they know in real life (and celebrities you approve of).
- Manage comments. Tell your kids never to read the comments or disable them entirely. This is one way to manage that external validation piece and to protect them from online bullying and predators.
- Set time limits. While many are relaxing time limits during quarantine, boundaries are good to keep a healthy balance.
- Communicate. Communication is so important, keep talking to your kids so they know they can come to you if they have a problem.
- Check followers. Keep an eye on who is following your kids if you let them go on the app without you.
- Scroll together. Predators have been known to manipulate their content so it lands on kids’ For You page. Consider keeping the app on your phone instead and enjoy videos together as a family.
Want more? Check out our blog How to Know When Drinking Too Much Water is Dangerous
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