The internet has been responsible for starting all manner of trends, some very positive and some not so. Among the most troubling in the latter category is the Hot Water Challenge, where people are dared to drink boiling water. While any reasonably intelligent adult would recognize that this is a very bad idea, children do not yet have such reasoning powers and that has already led to tragedy.
Eight year-old Florida native Ki’ari Pope accepted a challenge to drink boiling water through a straw. This dare was inspired by a social media video that Pope and a cousin had just watched. The child drank a large gulp of the scalding liquid, burning her mouth and throat, and losing the ability to talk. Pope suffered complications for months afterward before developing problems breathing two weeks ago. She lapsed into unconsciousness and died shortly after on July 31st.
This leads to the inevitable question of access: should children be kept off of the internet until they have reached a certain age? Parents know that it is largely impossible to police what children do online, so education seems to be the only other alternative. That means talking to your kids about what they are doing online, discussing the latest “challenges” that are appearing, and trying to stay ahead of the game.
Most would not find that advice to be very encouraging, but there appears to be little else to do at the moment. Many parents will say that they are already busy enough, but tragedy, such as the one that hit the Pope family, will leave you scarred forever. Take the time to make sure your children understand that just because they see something online or on TV or in a movie, that doesn’t mean it is safe for them to do in real life.