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Internet craze putting lives at risk

8 December 2015

An eleven year old boy in Barnetby has suffered serious burns after setting himself on fire in response to a ‘dare’ from his friends.

Internet craze putting lives at risk

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service were not called to the incident as the boy’s mother rushed him straight to Scunthorpe General Hospital after putting out his burning clothes.

The ‘Fire Challenge’ as it is called has now attracted national media attention due to the inherent dangers and reports of an American teenager dying last year after engulfing his whole body in flames. Full story on the Mail Online can be found here.

This dangerous activity requires a person to pour a liquid accelerant, such as nail polish remover or hand sanitizer on his or her body and set it on fire. Videos of this dangerous activity are then shared on Facebook or YouTube for ‘entertainment’.

[The photo from The Mail Online shows the potentially deadly moment on YouTube when the liquid is ignited]

This reckless activity is not only endangering the lives of the participants, but putting other lives at risk if towels or carpets ignite as the flames spread. The craze now appears to have surfaced in our region, with North Lincolnshire having had this recent incident. Public safety advocates in the Scunthorpe area are aware of the issue and will be reinforcing the dangers to school children before the Christmas break.

Parents and responsible adults can also play their part by looking out for warning signs and following a few simple guidelines:

• Have a conversation with children about the impact of burn injuries and participating in unreasonable risks

• Monitor their children’s use of social media. Outlets such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook cause the latest trends to travel at lightning speed. Additionally, the validation from “likes”, “views”, and comments from followers provide a hefty social reward for those who post photos and videos

• Recognise that adolescents do not process rewards and risks the same way as adults do. The teenage brain is much more likely to succumb to peer pressure in person or online

• Be aware that the element of competition within a peer group can lead to children pushing the limits of safety

• Look out for lighters or matches in pockets or in drawers and discuss the dangers with children

• Flag dangerous YouTube videos: YouTube has a set of Community Guidelines for posting videos. They do remove posts that cross the limits of “Dangerous Illegal Acts” and posts that are “Shocking and Disgusting”, but this can often take a few weeks. However, YouTube relies on the viewers to flag items that cross the line. Click on the flag icon under the number of views to send a warning to YouTube if you see any such dangerous posts.

Read the full story of the Barnetby incident in latest edition of The Scunthorpe Telegraph