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At a time when almost all children have access to the Internet from a very young age, viral challenges are one of the most worrisome challenges parents have to face. These fashion games that are popularized through social networks, are often a danger to the health and well-being of children. In this context, you may have heard of the pillow challenge, a 'challenge' that invites children and adolescents to sleep to stop eating, and thus lose weight.
Although undeniably, some challenges are extremely fun and harmlessThere are others that have been classified as dangerous and with future consequences, where self-harm and even death are incited. This is the case of the game of death, the devil's alphabet and the pillow challenge, among others.
For example, the Ice Bucket Challenge was carried out as a fun and advertising campaign in order to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease. But in 2017 the challenge of the Blue Whale became known, in which young people fulfilled a series of dangerous challenges and self harm, up to suicide.
Unfortunately, it was a challenge that went viral by almost everyone, and even the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, the place where the challenge originated, declared that these types of challenges were a direct attempt on life and ordered the closure of more than ten thousand web pages of this type.
The pillow challenge has appeared and has become very popular in some Latin American countries. I personally heard about him in a Mexican report and it seems to be a remake of the dangerous challenge that went viral some time ago, that of the Sleeping Beauty diet, where girls and adolescents they used their sleep hours as a method to lose weight quickly and effectively.But not everything is rosy in this challenge, much less a fairy tale.
Now the pillow challenge, which has the same foundations as the Sleeping Beauty diet, encourages young women to sleep for long hours and consume small portions of food when they wake up. The goal is to 'keep hunger in suspension' and so on accustom the body not to consume food. It also has an extra addition with the use of diuretics, laxatives to lose weight more quickly and sedative drugs to induce sleep during daylight hours.
Many young share their 'progress' on social media, encouraging other girls to join this viral challenge. They even give some tips to make you more successful. And thus, it has been its diffusion through the Internet that has helped it to spread among the youth.
The young women who are attracted to this challenge are due to the fallacy of the effectiveness of having the desired slim figure, which is never achieved without affecting overall health. Since when does this have to be a concern of children and adolescents? Many health, food and fitness experts, despite valuing a good restful sleep routine as an essential factor in losing and maintaining an ideal weight, agree that this type of dietary challenge that has gone viral can lead to various problems like the ones I list below.
- In many cases, sleep must be induced with sedatives, which generates dependence on this drug and future insomnia problems.
- Sleeping long hours can weaken the tone and muscle mass of the body, so it will be more difficult to even stand.
- Can produce gastrointestinal diseases due to inadequate food intake.
- Generates greater mental fatigue, since brain activity is reduced by sleeping hours, causing problems with mental agility, memory and concentration.
- Promotes social isolation and depressionSince, after spending long hours sleeping, young women do not leave their room, nor do social activities, which can lead them to generate feelings of loneliness and abandonment.
The best way to prevent children from falling into this type of viral challenge is through education. By talking about the dangers that can be found in social networks and the games that can endanger their lives, we will get children to use the Internet with more common sense. In addition, it is important to establish an atmosphere of dialogue so that, in case the children encounter a viral challenge, they feel confident telling us about it.
In case our children have fallen or participated in a viral challenge as dangerous as this, it is important to seek psychological help. This is the most efficient and least risky way to face this problem, since incurring in this type of diet out of an obsession to look thinner, is an image dysmorphic disorder and that is not resolved by 'reaching the desired weight goal'. It is necessary to continue investigating in depth the origin of this disorder.
Therefore, as a mother and father, we must always be attentive to changes in children's behavior. If they are suddenly more lonely, have academic problems or abruptly change their eating routine and spend a lot of time on the Internet, we should talk to them to prevent them from falling into these types of viral challenges or miracle diets.
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