The Cinnamon Challenge – Keeping Kids Safe Online

When speaking about keeping kids safe online, it’s not only the predators and cyber bullies we need to worry about. Often times children are their own worst enemy.  If you allow your child to browse the Internet or frequent YouTube they may have seen or
tried the Cinnamon Challenge. Inspired by a series of YouTube videos, adolescents have begun swallowing large quantities of cinnamon without drinking water.  The game has gone viral,  spurred by teens uploading thousands of videos on YouTube and Facebook showing them gagging, choking and spitting while trying to win the challenge.

I asked 10 teens how they found out about the cinnamon challenge and 100% of them stated that they were told by a friend. Over 50% of those polled said they viewed the challenge without their parents knowledge, using their smart phones or their school’s computer lab. Four out of the ten had actually taken the challenge.

Those who participate in the cinnamon challenge are often hit by extreme coughing or vomiting. But the effects can be much more severe: Lung collapse, pneumonia, and pulmonary edema (fluid build-up in the lungs) are possible results.  Doctors say the
challenge is impossible because the cinnamon cannot be digested without water and warn that by inhaling the cinnamon dust teens run the risk of inflaming or scarring their lungs.
Dejah Reed, a freshman at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., spent four days in the hospital with an infection and a collapsed right lung after she ingested cinnamon. “She was going in and out of consciousness. She couldn’t breathe. She was turning pale,” her father, Fred Reed, told local affiliate WXYZ. “I hope parents and kids learn that it’s not fun and games. She could have died.”

 This is the disclaimer from the Cinnamon Challenge Official Website:
“DO NOT ATTEMPT THE CINNAMON CHALLENGE WITHOUT TALKING WITH A DOCTOR. OBVIOUSLY THEY ARE GOING TO TELL YOU NOT TO DO IT. THE CINNAMON CHALLENGE CAN BE DANGEROUS AND SHOULDN’T BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. YOU NEVER WANT TO PURPOSELY OR MISTAKINGLY INHALE ANY SUBSTANCES SUCH AS CINNAMON. IT’S GOING TO BURN, YOU ARE GOING TO COUGH, AND REGRET YOU TRIED…SO WATCH MOVIES OF PEOPLE ALREADY FEELING THE PAIN.”

This is a great opportunity to speak with your child about the dangers of the cinnamon challenge, but also address Internet Safety Issues as well:

1.  Ask your child how they found out about the challenge. If they were informed via their smart phone or Internet Browsing, this is the time to discuss acceptable use of their phones or determine if you will disable the wireless feature.  If they found this by using someone else’s computer, make sure you discuss acceptable internet behavior away from home – including expectations and consequences.

Some children find the challenge funny to watch and enjoy talking about it, so capitalize on this time become involved in your child’s Internet interactions…this may be one time they welcome you in!

For those parent’s who have not witnessed the cinammon challenge…Here you go!

 

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