Internet’s ‘Fire challenge’ leaves Michigan boy with severe burns

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • The mother of a 12-year-old Michigan boy is warning other people about the risks of the “fire challenge” after his son suffered serious burns after performing the stunt.
  • The incident, which happened on Saturday, involved her son’s friend pouring nail polish remover over her son then setting him on fire.
  • The ‘fire challenge’ started around 2010 and was followed by other harmful pranks including the “hot water challenge” and “Tide pod challenge”.

A 12-year-old boy from Michigan was badly burned after a friend set him on fire as part of a social media challenge. Now, his mother is warning others about the dangers of the so-called ‘fire challenge’.

“I just want everybody to know that these challenges or whatever they’re watching on YouTube, is not worth risking your life,” Tabitha Cleary of Dearborn Heights told NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit.

She told the station that her son Jason, who sustained second-degree burns, was hospitalized for four days after a friend doused him with nail polish remover before setting him on fire on Saturday.

It’s not yet known if authorities are already aware of the incident.

Describing the incident to the station, Jason said it started with a tiny flame which was swatted out. But on the second try, the flames flared up. He recalled screaming in pain as his mother, who heard him outside before finding out what happened, rushed him to the hospital.

The “fire challenge” is not new. In fact, it has been around since 2010, according to the University of Iowa’s Injury Prevention Research Center website. Years later, it was followed by other dangerous pranks such as the ‘hot water challenge’.

NBC New York reported in 2016 a badly burned boy from Queens, New York after splashing himself with rubbing alcohol and setting himself on fire as part of the stunt. Then last year, WDIV reported about a 12-year-old Detroit girl who was hospitalized for two months due to second- and third-degree burns from the challenge.

In January, YouTube announced that dangerous viral challenges or prank videos like the “fire challenge” and the “Tide pod challenge” where people are dared to eat laundry detergent capsules would no longer be allowed on the platform. Stunts like these “have no place on YouTube” according to the company’s enforcement update.

The video-sharing website operates on a strike policy, wherein a strike results when rules are breached. A channel is terminated when three strikes are incurred within a given 3-month period, however, content creators can appeal a strike.

The platform issued the announcement after another harmful social media stunt called “Bird Box challenge” — where people blindfolded themselves while doing tasks — became popular.

 

Source: NBC News

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