Hospitals are being inundated with children suffering from burns as a social media game called the #FireChallenge gains popularity.
A new online challenge has taken a social media storm. The recent trend encourages teens and children to set themselves on fire to gain social media recognition.
The "#FireChallenge" originated in the United States of America in 2012. A YouTuber, 1BlazinEagle1, started the trend. He set his chest hair on fire in one of his videos.
The video garnered 100 000 views in two years. The popularity of the video spurred others to follow his lead and set themselves alight.
Unfortunately, most of the unsuspecting teens taking part in the challenge end up severely injured and needing immediate medical attention.
Doctors are horrified at the new challenge and report a terrifying increase in the number of children coming into the hospitals with burns and burn-related injuries.
"I can understand there is pressure on young people to gain acceptance or boost their online profiles by doing such risky things as these challenges,"said Jeremy Yarrow, a plastic surgeon at Morriston Hospital.
Doctor Jeremy Yarrow goes on to explain that many of these children end up permanently scarred.
Many of them end up in the hospital with life-threatening injuries and suffer from major physical and mental barriers that are often life-changing.
One young girl who got caught up in the craze was Timyah Landers. She tried the challenge while her two friends were visiting her at her home in Michigan.
The twelve-year-old was rushed to the hospital where it was noted that she had burns on 49% of her body. She was immediately put on a ventilator in intensive care and needed to be bandaged from her head to her knees.
Experts believe that parents and elders can prevent kids from getting involved in dangerous challenges. They recommend parents to pay close attention to what their children are doing online.
Dangerous internet challenges are always popping up. This one is no different from the Tide Pod trend that swept through social media a while ago.
So Doctor O'Brien advises parents to chat with their kids about the dangers of the internet.
"I would address this conversation like any other risk-taking behaviour. Parents are already comfortable talking about not diving into shallow water because you could end up in a wheelchair, or not inhaling toxins because you could get brain damage."