Why Are Viral Challenges So Attractive to Young People?

Do you know why viral challenges are so attractive to young people? What can parents do about these practices? We'll tell you all about it.
Why Are Viral Challenges So Attractive to Young People?

Last update: 12 May, 2022

Viral challenges are becoming more and more famous among young people and can end in serious consequences. These challenges make them feel connected with their peers and, in a way, help them say goodbye to childhood. But also, they can lead them to harm themselves or others. Find out why teenagers feel such a special attraction to these practices.

What are the viral challenges that are so attractive to young people?

When we talk about viral challenges, we’re referring to those challenges that circulate continuously on the internet, especially on social networks. They’re usually presented as online games, inviting young people to record themselves and share them with their followers in order to increase their popularity.

For many, they seem to be innocent childish activities or even issues between friends. But in some circumstances, those who promote them aren’t children at all, and the proposals can end in serious or fatal injuries.

This is why parents should be very attentive to the attitudes of their children to detect the problem as soon as possible. A challenge can appear, last a few weeks, and disappear. But while it’s in circulation, it can leave after-effects in those who practice it.

A row of teens leaning against the wall using their smartphones.
The life of today’s teenagers is divided between the real world and the virtual one. Therefore, we must accompany them in the best way so that they’re not exposed to risks.

Why are young people attracted to viral challenges?

To answer this question, we must highlight a key point, which is that the adolescent brain is still developing. Therefore, they’re not yet able to think clearly or fully appreciate the consequences of their actions. Consequently, young people quickly get hooked on these proposals and carry them out almost without reflection.

Until about the age of 25, the area of the brain responsible for rational thought isn’t fully developed. For this reason, adolescents often act impulsively.

In addition, adolescence is already a time of great change and the search for belonging in peer groups. For young people, popularity among peers is very important, and they’re capable of doing anything to achieve it. Even if it means taking certain risks.

The reasons that lead teenagers to take part in viral challenges are varied, but we’ll highlight the following:

  • Disillusionment with future socioeconomic and employment prospects. This makes them refuse to move into the adult world and they access these practices as a way to create their own reality.
  • Channeling of anger due to the mourning of the transition to adulthood. The inadequate management of their emotions makes them respond violently and even maintain childish behaviors.
  • The influence of other young people in the environment. This can intensify the desire to be the most popular or the bravest member of the group, even at the cost of their own well-being or risking their lives.
  • Social-emotional deficiencies. Family dynamics often hinder the exchange of feelings and emotions among family members. Therefore, many young people feel lonely in this stage of change and find an outlet for their loneliness in these virtual “communities”.

You may be interested in: Benefits of Social Media for Teenagers

What can parents do about these practices?

The first thing we adults should do is to know the digital environment in which our children move and the risks they run in them. That’s why, from an early age, it is important to teach them to make responsible and safe use of technologies.

However, we can also take into account and implement the following recommendations:

  • Provide enough confidence to our children, so that when they need help or have a problem, they can turn to us.
  • Be a good example every day, especially regarding the responsible use of technology.
  • Talk to our children in an informal way to get to know their opinion and their concerns, and also tell them about our difficulties when we’re going through this stage.
  • Keep up to date with everything that has to do with technology and social networks, in order to help them use them in a positive and responsible way.
  • Know the people they follow, whether they’re influencers or youtubers, and what they mainly use the internet for. What we do have to keep in mind is that we must always do so with respect for the privacy of our young people.
  • Provide them with information about the dangers that can be found on the networks and about the consequences of inappropriate use of technologies. For example, advise them not to share private information and explain the dangers of certain viral challenges.
  • Talk about feelings as a family from an early age. This will help children not to grow up thinking that they have to face their problems alone or that their parents underestimate their feelings.
  • Provide them with responsibilities in their daily routine so that they feel part of the family and stay connected to it.
A teenager sitting in bed looking upset, with her back to her mother.
If your child manifests any warning signs in their habits or behaviors, ask for help as soon as possible.

About viral challenges in adolescents

You’ve already seen that viral challenges can become a danger to the physical integrity of the youngest and even, to others. For this reason, it’s important to be alert to any sign that suggests that our children are immersed in this type of practice.

In this article, we’ve tried to advise you about the best ways to prevent your teenagers from falling into any risky situation because of a viral challenge. Just the same, if you think your child has an emotional problem that leads to this, it’s important that you contact a specialist to solve it as soon as possible.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Escribano, M. B. J. (2020). La necesidad de clasificar los retos virales para establecer un sistema de prevención eficaz. Aproximación periodística y educomunicativa al fenómeno de las redes sociales, 1267.
  • Vázquez Gavilanes, M. P. (2021). Factores protectores y de riesgo en el uso de redes sociales en adolescentes (Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad del Azuay). https://dspace.uazuay.edu.ec/handle/datos/11212

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.