The story of a teenager in Washington state landing in the hospital after undertaking the “Duct Tape Challenge” is all over social media — and it’s time for parents to talk to their kids about the game, in which kids wrap a participant in tape, videotape him or her trying to escape and post the video on YouTube, says Wendi Fischer, a family psychologist in private practice in West Islip.
In the case of the Washington 14-year-old, he fell while struggling to free himself and wound up with 48 stitches in his head, a shattered eye socket and a brain aneurysm.
Teens can be impulsive and participate in such activities because they want to fit in, Fischer says. “People think, ‘If I do that, I’ll be accepted, I’ll be part of this group, I’ll even be looked up to.”
Parents need to broach the topic in the same way they would any other risky behavior such as drinking, drugs or driving with someone under the influence, Fischer says, and discuss the consequences of choices. “Don’t lecture,” she says. “Say, ‘I heard about this. Have you heard about it?’ It’s one more time to open a conversation.”