3 Tips to Keep Teens Safe From Deadly Trends

Social media makes it all too easy for deadly activities to go viral. Montel Williams shares how parents can learn about dangerous challenges going viral—and how to stop their teens from participating.

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The Trends Putting Teens’ Health in Danger (3:59)

Many teens engage in dangerous activities that are popularized by social media. A recent report shows that emergency rooms are seeing more and more teens with injuries that result from emulating things they see online, such as the choking game and the salt-and-ice challenge. Talking with kids about drugs and alcohol may not be enough, since teens are finding new ways to get high and drunk. Montel Williams shares tips on how to keep your teen safe from these deadly trends spreading on social media. 

1. Set alerts so you know what’s trending.

Make sure you’re staying on top of what’s trending on social media. Instead of just combing through popular sites such as YouTube, Slate, and the Huffington Post, set an alert using Google Alerts for “alarming social media trends,” “drug trends,” “teen social media trends,” etc. Remember: For teens, novelty can spark interest, increasing the likelihood that they'll share videos with friends on social media.

2. Have conversations with neighborhood parents.

Start a new kind of neighborhood watch: Establish good communications with your teen’s friends’ parents. Talk to other parents about what you see on the Internet and swap stories. And, of course, make sure to establish good communications with your teen as well. Discuss the dangers of these activities and explain how it’s not just participating in the activities that’s problematic; sharing or liking the videos can be dangerous as well, since it could encourage peers to engage in dangerous challenges.

3. Be in charge of charging your teen’s electronics.

You should be responsible for charging all of your teen’s electronics, including laptops, cell phones, and tablets; have your kids turn in all of their stuff at the end of the day so you can do so. Tell your teen that you’ll need passwords and will be monitoring his social media activity. Just the idea that you may be monitoring his social media accounts could dissuade your teen from doing something impulsive online. 

More ways to protect your teen:
How to Talk to Kids About Bullying
Your 3-Step Emergency Action Plan
Are There Dangerous Chemicals in Your Family's Clothing?