In the past we’ve updated our parenting community on popular trends among children or teens that are downright dangerous and classify as “risky behaviors” (see here and here). Once again, we’re here to shed light on a disturbing game that has recently received much attention in the news and social media after a nearly fatal accident landed a 14-year-old boy in a Washington state hospital. In case you haven’t heard of it yet, the YouTube game is called the “Duct Tape Challenge.”
By A. Noelle
The challenge: one teen wraps duct tape around another teen and then films that person as he or she tries to escape.
Why? Because kids.
A simple search of “duct tape challenge” yields more than 230,000 results on YouTube, including variations on the game like “extreme duct tape challenge.” Some individuals are duct taped to chairs or even other people, and there is often a time limit of one minute for the person to break free.
When 14-year-old Skylar Fish attempted the challenge this time, things went south quickly. According to his mother, Sarah, Skylar had taken the challenge before when he and his friends duct taped each other to poles or bushes. This time the teens took the challenge onto school grounds and duct taped Skylar while he was standing up. The accident occurred when Skylar lost his balance and slammed his head into a concrete and metal window frame, which shattered his eye socket and cheek bone and led to bleeding in his brain.
“They told me over and over that he could’ve…that he’s lucky to be alive,” Sarah later told interviewers. “They did the best to fix everything, but his nerves in his eyes were pinched off. So he can’t see out of his eye.”
As a result of this unfortunate accident, the damage to Skylar’s eyesight may be permanent. He will also have to relearn normal, everyday tasks during his recovery.
Many teens are thrill-seekers and risk-takers, engaging in dangerous games or activities because “they’re just looking at what’s fun, what’s cool, what’s gonna impress their friends,” as Sarah put it. So how can parents help their kids think about the consequences and risks involved with these kinds of online challenges?
Here are some resources that may help: