April 15, 2021

Alert about the risk of viral challenges among the youngest – The Province

Alert about the risk of viral challenges among the youngest - The Province


The National Police and Orange have joined in an awareness and prevention campaign whose objective is warn of the risks that can lead to younger people following the fashion of the so-called viral challenges when they expose you to extreme situations. Today starts this initiative to raise awareness among young people about this dangerous phenomenon through two videos of awareness.

On the one hand, a fiction video as a story It aims to generate interest so that these conversations of value between parents and children arise about the impact that the situation portrayed in them produces. In this case, the fiction that is exposed, unfortunately, very real, is that of a teenager who stands on the cornice of a building while being recorded with his cell phones by a group of friends.

The second is a experimental video in which the protagonists face a situation around the phenomenon of the month, so that they understand what it consists of and its consequences. For this occasion, and following the line of the previous video, the young people invited to the experience live in the first person, without knowing what is fiction, the impact of the consequences of one of these challenges and reflect on it.

These audiovisual contents will be complemented in the coming weeks with online campaigns and other informative content with advice and messages from experts and educators to reinforce the didactic character of the initiative.

The director of the Police, Francisco Pardo, stressed that "the goal we have set ourselves is to end the damage caused by the viral challenges that circulate on the Internet and endanger not only the health, but the very life of our children "

For a Love use of Technology

This prevention campaign on viral challenges is part of the initiative "For a Love use of Technology", launched in September 2017 by Orange, to raise awareness among young children and adults about the importance of using technology safely and responsibly and invite them to reflect on the consequences of their improper use, causing phenomena such as sexting, cyberbullying, incommunicado, sharenting or the early exposure of minors to adult content.

As indicated by Samuel Muñoz, general manager of Marketing at Orange Spain, "in the case of viral challenges, from Orange we want to invite reflection within families about the importance of having a healthy relationship with technology and that the call" dictatorship of like "do not take our children to be injured or even put their lives at risk to please their followers." It is not about auditing their online relationships, but to deal with these issues with them and provoke value talks so that they know their consequences and that they feel confident enough to come to us before exposing themselves ".

Since its launch, the videos of the different themes addressed in the framework of the campaign "For a LOVE use of technology" have obtained more than 90 million views of our videos.

Dangerous challenges due to some likes

Internet, social networks, smartphones and other digital devices have become in recent years the tools par excellence for the extension of the so-called viral challenges or social challenges, that are actions that are proposed in the digital environment and that invite to be carried out by users around the world. Anyone can propose and join the challenge, with the basic condition that such action is filmed and posted on the Internet so that it becomes viral and reaches as many visits and likes as possible.

Viral challenges they can be comical or innocent as the one called "10 Years Challenge", in which photos from years ago are compared with others of today, and others are born with a solidary purpose, such as"Ice Bucket Challenge", in which its protagonists -including famous people- were throwing buckets of ice water to raise awareness about the ELA.

However, in recent times the vast majority of challenges border on the absurd and entail a risk for people. This is the case of the so-called "In My Feelings Challenge", which prompts you to get off a running car and dance just to record a video and hang it; the unfortunately famous "Blue whale", a sequence of challenges whose culmination is the suicide of its protagonists, the terrifying "Momo", which forces us to follow the dangerous indications of a strange figure received by WhatsApp under the threat of falling into a curse if it is not carried out; or the most recent "Bird Box Challenge", inspired by the movie "Bird Box" which consisted in going out blindfolded, emulating the protagonist, and forcing the platform on which it is displayed to warn users of the danger of emulating that behavior.

More than 15,500 talks about Internet risks in schools

The National Police, through the preventive plans implemented by its Delegations of Citizen Participation, has been informing and educating minors about the risks related to the inappropriate use of ICT, Internet and social networks for more than a decade.

The Master Plan for the Coexistence and Improvement of the Safety of Educational Centers and their Environments has given thousands of informative talks addressed to minors, families and teaching staff, trying to prevent the risks associated with information technologies, among others, inadequate content and dangerous communities. Last 2018, the National Police distributed 26,682 talks in schools throughout Spain, of which 15,502 were specifically aimed at preventing risks in social networks. This theme has been the most demanded followed by those aimed at the prevention of bullying, with more than 5,000 conferences given last year.

Communication and education as prevention tools

In the presentation of this initiative, both the National Police and Orange have also shared some advice and guidance for young people, parents and guardians on the best way to avoid a situation of risk arising from a viral challenge, with trust and communication being the main prevention tools.

Monitor the type of content your children access on the Internet, observe what they publish in their profiles and if they tend to imitate the behavior of other people, or know the influencers they follow and if they pose challenges or publish photographs or videos of these, are some of the recommendations to follow to detect a situation of risk in the face of these challenges.

In case of detecting that someone proposes a viral challenge that could be dangerous for children and adolescents, they should communicate and report in the social network or corresponding space and alert, if necessary, to the State Security Forces.

Agree with the minors on rules of responsible, intelligent and respectful use of computers, tablets or smartphones, and warn the youngest of the risks involved in sharing personal data with other online users are basic recommendations to prevent the youngest victims of crimes on the Net.

The National Police maintains several prevention campaigns targeting minors in its social networks, such as the campaign against bullying in which a specific email was created, [email protected] to report this type of violence in the classrooms; "Control your network", in which different teaching materials were developed, to encourage and promote the responsible use of new technologies, directed not only to students, but also to teachers and parents; or the Ciberexpert @ program, launched to respond to a greater demand for guidance in digital education, and which collects those issues that most affect our children, as the experience of National Police officers specialized in this area.

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