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Raising tech-savvy children: Dealing with TikTok and dangerous pranks

29 February 2020 1:18 PM

The viral skull breaker challenge is wreaking havoc. Nikki Bush looks at helping kids develop critical thinking skills.

The potentially dangerous skull breaker challenge is the latest craze on the popular TikTok social media platform, which relies on short-form 15-second videos.

RELATED: [VIDEO] Risky Tik Tok skull-breaker game is causing ruckus on social media

Parenting expert Nikki Bush says social media apps generally tap into our fear of missing out, especially among teens and tweens.

Teens and tweens are biologically wired to socialise and these social media apps give them another avenue for connecting, for having 15 seconds of fame.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

It's an avenue to get attention and they want a following, so there's this popularity contest going on.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Everybody wants a piece of the action but we're not very responsible about how we go about it and we think that the likes and the followers are really friends, but it's a misnomer.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

She says kids and young people have to realise that these connections are just that - connections, and they can't be relied upon as real friends.

The skull breaker challenge on TikTok is symptomatic of this drive to to get attention.

The prank tests who is the most gullible person in a trio - the person in the middle jumps but the two others don't, instead kicking the unsuspecting person in the middle's legs out from under them.

We underestimate how quickly you can get a concussion... say you hit the school corridor; that is a very hard surface... if you're unlucky enough to have your head hit the ground you could have a) a skull fracture, b) a haematoma, bruising on the brain, bleeding on the brain... or a concussion.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Your head doesn't even have to hit the floor to get a concussion - you just have to fall quickly and fast enough for your brain to shake around in the skull.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

We've actually had children die from this challenge.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Bush says apart from the inherent dangers, the "prank" is a form of bullying.

Getting over the humiliation is the hard part. Children may even need counselling... both the bully and the victim.

Nikki Bush, Parenting expert

Bush emphasizes the importance of helping your child develop critical thinking skills.

She says this skull breaker challenge should be used as a "teachable moment" for family dinner table conversation.

Listen to her tips on how to do this effectively in the audio below:


29 February 2020 1:18 PM