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Online challenges: talk about them with your children

Now that the school holidays have started, your children will have more time to spend online and using social media. According to the European platform, Better Internet for Kids, it’s well worth taking a look at some of the online challenges that have become so popular with young people.

The idea behind an online challenge is as follows: The youngsters take on a certain challenge, film themselves doing it and then share it online and on social media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). By doing so, other young people are encouraged to take up the challenge themselves and pass it on to others.

From innocent to dangerous

Most of these challenges are quite innocent, but some of them can become quite dangerous. To demonstrate this fact, there is the story of the young Dutch teenager, Tim, who died at the age of 16 as the result of a ‘choking game’ that went wrong. To increase awareness among youngsters, parents and teachers about the dangers of online challenges, Tim’s parents created the “TIM Foundation Against Online Abuse”.

The Foundation’s main message aimed at parents is the following: never underestimate the chance that your child will take part in these online challenges, or that something may go wrong. Surveys have been conducted among young people show that they would like to be informed more about the risks and dangers posed by these challenges. At the same time, research also indicates that youngsters barely discuss these hazards with their parents or teachers, because – so young people themselves say – they are not really aware of the dangers themselves.

As a result, the Foundation advises parents to find out more about the challenges currently doing the rounds online and to talk regularly with their children about what they come across when they’re on the Internet. You will find more detailed advice about this topic on the “Stichting Tegen Internet Misstanden” website.