Talking to kids about the Cinnamon Challenge and other online pranks

Typically, when we think of the dangers of YouTube, online porn and violence are atop our list of concerns. Something as seemingly harmless as cinnamon would probably never even make the list, right? Not so fast. Apparently, the latest teen stunt on YouTube is called the Cinnamon Challenge. To take the challenge, teens are encouraged to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon and keep it down for a full minute without drinking anything.

Thousands of YouTubers, including some celebrities, have filmed themselves attempting to down the bittersweet spice, only to cough up a cloud of brown powder. Viewers may think the gagging that ensues is funny, but doctors say it’s far from child’s play. The health risks are serious. One Michigan teen was even hospitalized for a collapsed lung after trying the prank for herself.

While warning your kids about the Cinnamon Challenge is definitely a good first step, it’s important to address the bigger picture here. After this prank is long gone, another one is sure to take its place. Will it be as dangerous? Hopefully not, but you need to make sure your kids are prepared. Talk to them about the dangers of copycatting others, in real life and online.

How do you talk to your kids about being a leader, not a follower? Share your tips below!

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