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THE DANGER VIRAL CHALLENGES

THE DANGER VIRAL CHALLENGES

By Laura Posada
“Momo” is a challenge that spreads through WhatsApp. Users add a phone number and talk to a terrifying figure who sends them aggressive images and instructs them to follow if they want to get rid of a “curse.” The danger of this challenge is that cyber-aggressors can use it to hack personal data, intimidate or cause physical and psychological disorders, or even incite suicide.
One, as a mother, reads this and gets the hair on end, since, like this one, there are hundreds of challenges spreading through cyberspace. Our children, especially pre-teens and teenagers, are exposed to a lot of stimuli of this kind through social networks that, as I have always said, are a wonderful medium if used well. But if not, they can be quite risky.
Dangerous challenges are not new. Do you remember when your schoolmates challenged you to jump from a high place or to do other imprudence that ended with a broken arm? What happens is that before there were no smartphones to record them or social networks to publish them. The problem today is that, with communication technology, these dangerous challenges quickly become viral and there are more people willing to risk becoming famous, even for 15 minutes. That means crossing limits and doing things as dangerous as setting yourself on fire or driving with your eyes covered, just to gain likes and attention!
Check your children’s social networks frequently: find out who your children are following and who are favorite influencers, to see if they can be convincing them to do something dangerous. Pre-teens and teenagers tend to be more influential because they are developing their sense of group membership, and they are the most vulnerable group when it comes to viral challenges.
Talk to your children about the risks of these challenges: it is materially impossible to control everything your children see, then your best bet is to talk with them so that they know that if they have doubts about something they can tell you openly, and so that they develop the necessary self-esteem to not do things that can harm them.
Make pressure: this issue must be addressed at home, in schools, in the community, with other parents, and even in government instances, to encourage public prevention and sanction policies for those who water these challenges. Subscribing to a website that keeps you informed of all new challenges is also useful. And finally, I encourage you to report and report any content that you consider dangerous.
www.lauraposada.com

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