Latest Trend on Social Media Encourages Kids to Set Selves on Fire

fbfireToday’s teens aren’t interested in the Harlem Shake or planking anymore — they’d rather set themselves on fire instead.

According to an August 6 Design & Trend article, the latest viral trend on social media is more deadly than anything that’s come before — because in “The Fire Challenge,” teens will pour flammable liquids on their skin and then light the liquid, and themselves, on fire.

Video recordings of the act, usually recorded by friends, are then uploaded onto social media sites like YouTube and Facebook.

Most of the teens who participate in “The Fire Challenge” aren’t aware of the fact that rubbing alcohol can burn the skin when ignited, and doing this can have fatal consequences, Design & Trend reported.

As a result, the New Jersey Office of the State Fire Marshal has issued a safety warning, which other states have adopted, stating that “When young survivors are interviewed, most say they didn’t give much thought to the possibility of being injured or killed and they didn’t realize the fire would be so intense.”

“Unfortunately, lots of kids today believe everything they see and read online. Parents need to be aware of what their children see and are exposed to online. Providing guidance and open discussion about guidelines for online behavior is just as essential as offline,” states Paul Adkison, Founder of ZABRA, a safety and security tool for social medial. “Parents need help in protecting and monitoring what their child is exposed to online, that’s why programs and software were created for these situations.”

And because many teens who do “The Fire Challenge” ignite the rubbing alcohol on their chests, it has consequences for their respiratory health as well as that of their skin.

“They end up thinking {they’re} going to have a small, limited amount of flame on their bodies and in effect they end up being in a cloud of flammable vapors that do light off,” Chief Billings, of the Manchester, Conn. Fire Department, toldDesign & Trend. “As soon as they light that off they are now breathing this high temperature gas and toxic fumes that immediately goes into their lungs.”