One of the stranger by-products of kids using social media is the “challenge” phenomenon. The origins of many of these weird trends are unknown, but they spread like wildfire, and some are nearly as dangerous.
Remember the cinnamon challenge? The goal was to gulp down a heaping teaspoonful of cinnamon in 60 seconds. The end result, typically, was a video consisting of people choking & gasping as clouds of cinnamon burst forth from their mouths like an erupting volcano.
In case you ponder the sense of undertaking such a challenge, here are a few questions that are most googled about it:
(Hint: If you need to Google if a challenge might kill you, it’s best to avoid attempting said challenge, kiddos.)
Sure, there were the more innocuous trends like the mannequin challenge, the water bottle flip challenge, or the TikTok dances. While they seemed pointless, they were harmless fun.
And then we had the TIDE POD CHALLENGE. Teens were eating -yes, eating– the liquid cubes of laundry detergent, on camera. For entertainment.
Another new disturbing challenge trend known as the “Tripping Jump Challenge” is not only cruel to the unknowing victim, but potentially lethal.
To give you an idea of the severity of this new “prank” (which is definitely not a prank, but an act of violence), it’s also known by a more sinister name: the “Skull-Breaker Challenge”.
The challenge consists of three people standing next to each other, seemingly ready to jump up into the air simultaneously. But the only one that actually jumps is the person in the middle, who is the victim. He or she is anyone who doesn’t know what’s about to occur.
As the middle person is in mid-air, the other two attempt to kick the person’s legs out from under them.
The result: without the support of his or her legs to brace for impact, the victim crashes to the floor at any awkward angle.
Here’s a visual of the “Tripping Jump Challenge”. Even without seeing the actual impact, just imagining her landing is enough to make one cringe.
This is the skull breaker challenge. Please please PLEASE don’t do this ?????? People have died from this (I cut the video I received from another mum)
Why do kids do these stupid things ? pic.twitter.com/WNgn2HcPTp
— ? Jennifer ? (@britishchickAD) February 14, 2020
But it’s not just the teens that are taking on the “Tripping Jump Challenge”– younger kids are also falling falling prey to this insanity.
Ten-year-old Journey Bonner of Columbus, OH was recently the victim of the challenge, which left her with a large, circular swelling on the back of her head.
As Journey explained when interviewed by Columbus news station WBNS, she thought she was just making a video with her friends. The next thing she knew, her head was slammed against the schoolyard pavement, by her “friends”:
What they did was mean, it was cruel and it was evil.
Here’s the video footage from Journey’s experience. While it’s difficult to watch, it really drives home the severity of this “challenge”, & the need for parents to prevent their kids from partaking in it.
Journey’s mother, T’Marla Bonner, was initially told that Journey’s head was injured in a “tripping” incident.
But when the actual facts of the matter were revealed, T’Marla was obviously heartbroken, as she told WBNS:
Then, when I seen the video, it just broke my heart.
This is a very, very serious prank that feels like an assault.
She is absolutely correct in her conclusion. This isn’t a prank, or a joke, or a “challenge”. It’s an assault.
The principal of Berwick Alternative School did say that T’Marla could press charges against the two students involved if she chose. The district also issued a public statement stating that “appropriate disciplinary action has been taken”, and that:
We want our young people to understand the seriousness of these social media challenges. Safety begins with each student making smart choices on the actions they take.
While students should ideally be making smart, safe choices regarding the safety of TikTok challenges, parents need to be informed as well.
How many of you knew that the “Tripping Jump Challenge” even existed? No guilt if you didn’t; I have three teenagers & didn’t have a clue.
But several kids have already been injured as a result of the challenge, some severely. There have been news reports of fractured arms, concussions, spinal injuries, and brain damage.
And according to an Inter TV Costa Branca article, in December 2019 a 16-year-old girl from Brazil died from injuries as a result of the “Tripping Jump Challenge.”
There are enough dangers in real life without teens trying to manufacture new ways of injuring others for the sake of earning more follows on TikTok.
Stay current with what your kids are up to on their social media accounts. By being educated on what’s trending and communicating about the potential dangers of so-called challenges, your child is far more likely to USE his or her own brain rather than slamming someone else’s against the ground for “fun”.