The Tide Challenge: How to Protect Your Child from Dangerous Online Behavior

March 18, 2019

protect your child from dangerous online behaviorThe Tide Challenge is one of the most dangerous internet challenges that may have influenced impressionable children in decades. The challenge began by viral videos surfacing of teens biting into the pod, with the detergent running down their face and into their bodies. The trend started in late 2017, still circulating the internet today.

The Tide challenge, of course, was incredibly dangerous. There have been hospitalizations, deaths, and cases of children nearly losing their lives…all because kids wanted ten minutes of fame on YouTube or other social media outlets. The incredible danger of putting one of the colorful detergent-filled packs into their mouth, then biting down, seems unthinkable. As adults, we know that the pod bursting with harmful chemicals into the mouth and into the digestive system of children is a ridiculous way to get attention.

Although this particular video challenge is in the past with new containers being introduced and parents being placed on high-alert, there are always other “challenges” making the news.

Other challenges that have swept the internet include the Kylie Lip Challenge, the Ice and Salt Challenge, the Cinnamon Challenge, and even more recently—The Bird Box Challenge. Based off of the popular movie by the same name, kids are putting on a blindfold and completing their daily activities like working, cooking, and even more dangerous—driving.

Protecting your children from dangerous behaviors they may be exposed to is imperative to their well-being. As parents, there are things we can do to make sure an internet challenge doesn’t turn into an internet tragedy.

There are ways to limit the dangerous videos they view going viral on YouTube. On most devices, you can remove the “YouTube” permission entirely. Another option, allowing them to use “YouTube Kids” solely, protects children from the unfiltered “YouTube” website, often not filtering the videos showcasing harmful behaviors.

Another social media platform, Snapchat, is where some of the wilder challenges can spread, with no trace found. This platform shows the message with seconds to spare, only to disappear moments later. Many Snapchat channels can be viewed showcasing celebrities and their escapades, other area youths doing “day to day” activities, and more. Filtering is non-existent, and often kids add friends to their Snapchat groups they hardly know. Monitoring this app is important and having discussions about what is appropriate is always a crucial step in communicating with our children about social media. If you are asking yourself if your child is too young for Snapchat, he or she probably is.

It’s also important to communicate with other parents as well as school administrators about what your child may be watching online. Even doing a quick “online search” of the latest social media crazes is easy to do. By far, the best way to keep your children safe is by talking to them about the benefits and pitfalls of social media. Make sure they know keeping their privacy online is a key safety step. Never use their full name, phone number or address without a parent’s permission. Don’t open emails from people they don’t know, and never respond to hurtful or disturbing messages. Talking to your children is one of the most important things you can do. By understanding and asking what is going on in their lives, they are more likely to communicate with you any issues or concerns.

If you would like to learn more, please contact the Association of Childcare Physicians by calling (618) 235-2311 or by visiting our website. Dr. Kellow and Dr. Shaw want your children to stay healthy and safe, learning practical lifestyle behaviors that they can use for a lifetime.