LN – “Break skulls”: keys to preventing boys from joining viral challenges

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Sequence of “skulls breaker”, the new viral challenge that worries adults

Three teenagers facing camera. Those at the ends jump first, simultaneously. The middle one does it later but, in doing so, his teammates
they kick it, causing it to fall and hit. The video circulates among the boys, through YouTube and Tik Tok, the most popular networks among teenagers, promoting, as in previous challenges, that
other guys copy it and viralize their experiences.

It also circulates among adults, either between friends or in parent chats. Is that, the new viral challenge among teenagers is known as the ”
skull cracker“and, because of the dangers that it embodies, it shows again
the need to accompany the boys at a stage where experimenting is the rule, but
without properly measuring the risks.

“Among teenagers, situations in which some type of risk is faced are common.
They seek to experiment and this leads them to transit dangerous territories: from incurring the intake of alcohol or other substances to see what happens, by driving while intoxicated or even in games like these, in which it starts from a supposedly funny situation but that
it implies risks for themselves or for third parties, either by the game itself or by its subsequent viralization“, explains Enrique Berner, a specialist in Pediatrics and Adolescence and head of the Adolescence service at Argerich Hospital.

In his opinion, in this era crossed by technology, the presence of parents is essential. “It is important to promote autonomy in them.
Be clear that if the group encourages dangerous situations, they can say no. However, it is essential to be present and
not be afraid to set limits when they are exposed to risk situations, “says the specialist.

But if transit through risky terrain is frequent in adolescence, technology and its possibilities sharpen them. For Lucía Fainboim, Education Director of Faro Digital, an NGO that promotes digital citizenship by taking the voice of boys and girls,
exposure is a fundamental factor: “The challenges are filmed and viralized.
If they were not filmed and viralized, I am sure that many boys would not participate. There is a dissociation between what is done and the end pursued.
In order to add likes and views violence is denatured“.

Fainboim also believes that adult presence is necessary to generate reflection in children. ”
Many of those who participate, whether in the challenge itself, or filming, or just laughing, are against violence towards a partner. On the other hand, it is lost sight of that
on the Internet everything endures and that maybe, in a few years, when someone goes to look for work, this kind of videos reach their potential employers, “he warns.

For adults, there is much to do and say against challenges and their potential risks. Here are some tips provided by specialists:

  • Talk with the boys in order to
    strengthen their autonomy or independence so they don’t give in to peer pressures when it comes to joining these or other challenges.
  • Be constantly aware of the risks that social networks entail among children and adolescents, knowing that they are a fundamental factor of socialization between them and we cannot isolate them.
  • Establish family living rules that involve some positioning on these issues. Some must be established by adults and others can be agreed upon.
  • Set immediate application limits in case some of them are infringed. If this point becomes difficult, do not hesitate to receive advice.
  • Raise awareness in boys about the dissociation between the real and the virtual.
    Violence is violence regardless of context. Call things by name.
  • Talk about the risks that exposure in networks embodies as
    the material becomes viral and does not disappear, and may have negative consequences in the future.

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Publicado en el diario La Nación