DETROIT (WWJ) – Officials are urging parents to talk to their kids about a disturbing internet trend spreading among teens around the country — the fire challenge.
The “game” involves teenagers recording themselves as they pour lighter fluid or other flammable liquid, like nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol, all over their body before setting themselves on fire. After dousing the flames, the video is posted to social media sites where it is shared among other teenagers.
Dr. Gerald Shiener, a psychiatrist at Wayne State University, said the challenge looks dumb and dangerous to adults, but many teens will do anything to get notoriety.
“We have to remember first that teenagers are a lot more immature than we realize,” Shiener told WWJ’s Beth Fisher. “Teenagers compete with one another, so if one kid dares another kid to do something, they’re inclined to take the dare.”
Another reason why some teens wouldn’t think twice about taking the challenge, Shiener said, is because they need a high-level of stimulation.
“Kids like those action movies where something is always happening, they like loud music and they need something to get through that barrier that they use to block out their feelings,” he said.
Shiener said parents really need to help their kids understand the dangers involved with the fire challenge, such as severe burns and lung damage.
“You have to tell them the difference between being tough and being dumb,” he said.