Officials are issuing a warning for parents all over the United States: if you see these marks on your children’s arms, they’re participating in a dangerous new trend.
This trend is called the “eraser challenge”, and challenges kids to use an eraser to “erase” their skin. This results in serious burns, bruises, and skin being eaten away. If left untreated it may also lead to infection.
Children everywhere are taking part, saying they don’t feel the pain when they “erase” their skin. They then post of videos all over youtube, on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“I thought it was the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” said one parent about the challenge.
“I think children are lonely. They sit in front of the internet and they don’t have anyone to be accountable to,” said another.
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Others seemed unsurprised by the challenge, saying that kids had been doing variations on the eraser challenge for years.
“This is nothing new,” said one commenter on East Iredell Middle School’s Facebook post. “Everybody I went to school with 30 years ago did this.”
One aspect of the trend that didn’t surprise pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, was the way children boasted about their injuries from the challenge.
“These kids are acting like kids,” Swanson said. “It seems like there’s this bravado in it, there’s this easy accessibility … when you’re thinking about the social dynamics of children trying to belong, trying to get attention and show strength, it isn’t that surprising.”
Swanson advised parents and teachers to tell kids about how the eraser challenge could harm them. Eraser burns can become infected by staph or strep skin infections, potentially leading to serious harm.
“Kids don’t know this, but your skin isn’t sterile, it’s crawling and teeming with bacteria and when you open up your skin, that bacteria can crawl in and cause an infection,” Swanson warned.
“Most kids are going to play this stupid game and have redness in their skin, create a scab and they might be left with a scar,” she added. “Most kids will do fine because our immune systems are just profound.”