Salt and Ice Challenge is Dangerous Internet Meme

Salt and Ice Challenge is Dangerous Internet Meme

A new, and dangerous, “game” has become popularized and several media reports have emerged warning parents, educators and caregivers about the risks associated with an activity called the “salt-and-ice challenge”.

This “game” is a trend amongst middle and high school students, and how it is played is salt is poured onto the skin, ice is then placed on top, and then pressure is applied. It will begin to immediately hurt and the challenge is to see how long the individual can withstand the burning pain. Kids are recording the game and posting the videos to YouTube and possibly other social media platforms.

Health experts are noting the dangerous effects of the game because it can cause severe burns to the skin; it has been likened to frostbite.  If you enter the term ‘salt-and-ice challenge’ into Google, you can see this trend dates back to 2006 on YouTube, however, it is more recent that this disturbing Internet game is featured more prominently in the news.

This past week this ‘challenge’ made headlines after news emerged about a 12-year-old boy that participated in the ‘salt-and-ice’ challenge during a sleepover with other youths on June 22. He sustained very serious injuries on his back; the boy was treated at a local burn center for the injuries he received.

“The injury is similar to frostbite that can result in mild cold injury but it also could increase in severity based on the time the ice is applied,” Ariel Aballay, director of the West Penn Burn Center said. “The longer, the more serious the injury. This patient went for a few minutes, but there have been cases that went for six or seven minutes that resulted in third-degree injuries.”

The Post-Gazette reported the youth, who was not identified by name, “lay on his stomach during a sleep-over at his house as his brother and a friend put salt in the form of a cross on his back,” ice cubes were then placed on top of the salt and pressure was applied.”

This boy is not alone. In April, a CBS News affiliate in Philadelphia, Pa., issued a report warning parents about the ‘salt-and-ice challenge’. This emerged after officials at Phoenixville Middle School in Chester County, Pa. overheard students talking about this “game”. Unfortunately, despite warnings, many young people are engaging in this dangerous trend and, by doing so, put themselves at significant risk.

“I want parents to go to Facebook and YouTube to be aware of it and all the other Internet challenges,” the boy’s mother told the Post-Gazette. “Kids are so impressionable and you can tell them no until you are blue in the face.”

She noted that kids engage in the “salt-and-ice challenge” more than parents think, indicating team initiations and peer pressure play into this trend.

“Now I say it daily that when you are with other kids, stop and think before you do anything,” the mother said. “But whenever you get a group of kids together, they are going to do things. It’s peer pressure, even if they don’t want to do it.”

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