BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's been over 40 years since I was a teenager, and that thought alone is frightening -- but I'm still above ground despite doing some stupid things as I matured. In eleventh grade, I went parking with Darlene and found myself stuck in a snowbank when it was time get my date home by midnight (luckily a man with a large pick-up truck and a chain pulled us out). As a high school junior, I tasted beer for the first time and promptly found the beer leaving my stomach. And in my first job out of college, I missed a Larry Bird news conference because my camera did not work- l later found out that the reason I didn't see a picture in my view finder was because I left the lense cap on. Looking back, I consider myself lucky that these were but a few of the seemingly minor embarrassments of my young life. Those poor decisions I made years ago pale in comparison to some poor decisions kids are making today--and man, do kids today have dangers lurking all around them, forcing them to make the right decisions.
On Thursday, WBRC Fox6 reported that four students from Pelham High School were briefly hospitalized after "sampling" laundry detergent. If you are a parent and have not heard of the Tide Pod Challenge, it has nothing to do with Bama football, but rather everything to do with life and death. It's the latest dangerous, dumb, head scratching viral fad that many of America's young people are trying. The challenge? To chew and/or swallow one of those small, plastic wrapped Tide detergent pods. Oh sure, to young kids they smell great, but once the liquid laundry detergent packs are ingested, anything, including death, can follow. Last year alone, the American Association of Poison Control Centers estimated that 25 percent of liquid detergent ingested was intentional (a large portion was accidentally ingested by young children), and while YouTube officials say they quickly remove any videos showing the ingestion of the pods, you can bet that kids everywhere have not only heard of the Tide Pod Challenge but know someone who has tried it.
Now for the news that may really get you depressed: The Tide Pod Challenge is but one of a myriad of traps that your child may fall into. You already know about the dangers of alcohol, drugs and synthetic drugs (watch those little packs of Spice that can often be purchased at convenience stores). I thought I'd offer you a list of what your child may be exposed to at anytime, anywhere -- it's really mind boggling.
This internet craze attempts to alter consciousness via sound. A teen will listen to downloadable MP3s, the effects akin to getting high on actual drugs. Different frequencies are played in each ear and the result is a feeling of being high.
I don't make this stuff up: Afraid to be caught with alcohol on their breath, many kids get drunk/high by pouring vodka into their eye. The alcohol is quickly absorbed through the mucous membrane and enters the bloodstream. Most vodka is 40% alcohol, resulting in burned corneas.
Add some cough syrup with codeine to a soft drink and candy (usually Sprite and Jolly Ranchers), and a single does can be lethal. If you see some Sprite and Robitussin in your kid's bedroom, you better say something.
The Choking Game
A friend will choke a buddy in order to cut off blood flow to the brain, making the person feel high. In actuality, brain cells are dying due to lack of oxygen. It is estimated that up to 1,000 people die each year from playing the game.
These salts, ingested through snorting, result in hallucinations and psychosis--the salts can also be ingested. These salts can stay in the system for up to four days and result in suicide.
These are the new "it" substance among teens as they provide a rush to the brain.
Overdosing on Supplements
If your kid is working out while taking supplements, beware. Over 40 percent of those taking Creatine and other powders are overdosing and not knowing it. The powder can make a child reliant on the substance resulting in dangerous hormone balances.
So then, you thought all you had to preach to your kids about was alcohol, drugs, synthetic drugs and such? While I try not to preach, I do tend to throw an occasional warning to my college sophomore and my high school junior. You know the drill: You are a mess because you worry so much about their driving. Then they go to a few high school parties and you worry about them being in the midst of alcohol or drugs if a parent is now present (thus, always make sure a parent is present). And when your kid gets to college? You hope you raised them right and they make the correct decisions.
Being a teenager today is in many ways easier than when we were young (iPhones, cable TV, instant access and communication). It's also more difficult and more dangerous for young people these days (iPhones, cable TV, instant access and communication). Temptations lurk everywhere for young people today, and those temptations seem to increase everywhere you look. So as parents, let's be alert, let's be aware, and let's be diligent. If we do, we might just save a life that is closer to us than we think. And if you catch your child partaking in one of these moronic challenges? I'm giving you permission to wash their mouth out with soap.