It doesn’t seem to matter how smart or popular teenagers are, many are putting themselves at risk taking part in senseless activities.
There are countless viral videos showing teenagers and young adults doing things most would call reckless and stupid.
“People are doing anything and everything to get attention,” said Meghan Kenney.
Only a few years removed from her teen days, Kenney has friends who have tried several of these “challenges” on the internet.
“They want to feel on top of the world. I don’t see the benefit to that,” said Kenney.
Search “dangerous teen trends” online and more than 600,000 results come up. Many of the postings include video clips of teens setting themselves on fire, pouring alcohol into their eyes and dozens of other dangerous acts.
Toying with death
“It just seemed normal, everyone was trying to beat each other on how long you could be choked,” said Haley Anderson.
Now in her 20s, Anderson remembers a classmate of hers back in middle school.
“He used a belt and tied it up to one of his beds,” she said.
The belt somehow became stuck on the bed and her friend was unable to free himself.
“It ended up latching and he couldn’t get it undone, he ended up dying,” Anderson said.
Her friend is not the only teenager to try the “choking game” and not survive. The internet is flooded with stories of kids who died or were taken to the hospital.
Several years ago Carter Righi had a friend choke him.
“I remember the rush of people standing around to see what happened,” said Righi.
His friend put his hands around Righi’s neck and squeezed.
“I stood there waiting for something to happen and then I couldn’t breathe, I was out when I hit the ground and did not remember a thing,” he said.
A teenager at the time, Righi was unconscious for almost 15 seconds before waking up.
For the clicks
“Part of adolescence mentality is you feel invincible and they are not,” said Dr. Jon McGreevy.
As an emergency room doctor at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, McGreevy has treated several teenagers who attempted a challenge they saw on the internet or social media.
Most of the trends are not new but teenagers continue to try them.
One of the more dangerous challenges is car surfing. The person stands up on top of a moving car as if surfing in the ocean.
“Everyone says it [getting hurt] is never going to happen to me but you never know,” said Samantha Senato.
A self-described “good girl,” Senato never tried any of these challenges but thinks she knows why so many do: “The main vehicle behind all of this is social media and the internet.”
In what is often minutes after recording a “challenge,” teens are quick to post the video on the internet. Teens are then challenging others to try the same thing.
“They want the likes and want to become famous, if you will,” said Meghan Kennedy.
Spreading the danger
Other challenges including eating a spoon full of cinnamon, snorting a condom through your nose and pulling it out of your mouth, putting salt and ice on your body to cause a burn and dropping a condom full of water on your head.
“Posting was the point of it and then you elect someone to do it,” said Haley Anderson.
The dangerous games are not exclusive to boys. Girls are also taking part in these dangerous challenges.
Teenage girls are soaking tampons in alcohol to get a “quick” high. Others are using an eye dropper and putting it into their eyes.
Anderson said she “never understood that one.”
Peer pressure among teens is powerful and all teens are susceptible to being seduced by the thrill and the instant popularity that comes with it.
Communication with your child is key.
For more information on ways to keep your teen safe and prevent them from trying one of these dangerous "challenges," click here.
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