The eraser challenge is making the rounds in middle schools again, and it's leaving kids with serious burns and sometimes permanent scars.
I remember doing the eraser challenge back when I was in middle school. It basically involved taking one of those parallelogram-shaped pink erasers, and then rubbing it across your skin until it started to create a burn. Most of us would drop out the second our skin began to turn red or when we'd first feel the slightest tingle. But now thanks to social media, the trend is making a comeback—and this time, the stakes have been raised.
At East Iredell Middle School in North Carolina, for example, parents were recently warned about the challenge after several students got hurt.
"Parents! Do your children have any burn marks?" began a recent post on the school's Facebook page. "The latest internet challenge is the 'Eraser Challenge.' Kids are rubbing an eraser across their skin while having to do or say something. It's causing serious burns and we've seen several cases of this at EIMS." The school then posted a link to an article from 2015 about a kid who was hospitalized and fighting for his life after he contracted Strep A Toxic Shock from playing the game.
Yikes! "This is serious," wrote one parent in the post's comment section. "These kids do not realize what they are doing to themselves."
"They also use salt and hold an ice cube over it," added another. "Caught my kid and his buddy doing it."
And from a third: "I still have a scar. I'm 65 years old did this back in the 60s lol."
On the one hand, it's easy to write these types of challenges off as passing fads, and chalk the popularity of them up to kids being kids. But on the other, this type of stuff is more dangerous now than it was when we were in grade school since our kids are trying to one-up each other not just in the hallways and cafeteria, but also online.
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Bottom line: Be aware, talk to your kids, remind them they can get hurt, and then keep sharing what you know with other parents.
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.