A 12-year-old suffered second-degree burns in Dearborn Heights, Michigan when his friend lit him on fire for a social media challenge on Sep. 28.
Jason Cleary suffered burns on his chin, chest, and stomach when his friend sprayed him with nail polish remover then set it alight as part of a social media challenge that makes children set each other on fire. Jason’s screaming alerted his family.
“So we came running out. That’s when we saw his friend Bryce riding him on the bike with no shirt on,” Tabitha Cleary, Jason’s mother told Click on Detroit.
“I start to freak out. ‘Take him to the hospital, take him to the hospital.’ I’m crying. He’s crying,” she said.
Setting oneself or another person on fire is not a new challenge. Detroit Free Press reports that it is a youtube trend from 2012 that involves people dowsing themselves with rubbing alcohol then setting it alight. Cases have been reported from Georgia, Kentucky, and California.
The alcohol burns up quickly, and the fire is extinguished with water.
Jason’s friends took the challenge a bit too far.
“(The) first time, it (the fire) was little, and they swatted it off. Second time, they kept spraying it (nail polish remover) on me,” Jason said.
The Power Social Media Has Over Children
A 12-year-old, Timiyah Landers of Detroit suffered 49 percent burns and had to undergo multiple surgeries after she poured on rubbing alcohol and set herself alight last year, reported Fox 2 Detroit.
“She came running up my hallway on fire from her knees to her hair,” Lander’s mother, Brandi Owens, told Fox 2 Detroit.
Just before Landers set herself alight, Owens had baked pancakes and gone to take a nap, but minutes later, she heard a small explosion.
“She came running up my hallway on fire from her knees to her hair,” she said. The child was put in the bathtub and sprayed with water and then rushed to the hospital.
The mother said Landers was trying the challenge with her friends. “These kids are trying these YouTube challenges,” she said, “that’s where they get this challenges is YouTube, and they’re trying it with their friends.”
Owens warned parents and wanted youtube to ban such videos. “Monitor these kids, especially with these phones, and if I could after with this happening—my kids would never be able to be on social media. No more iPhones. Nothing,” she said.
The craze for the “Fire Challange” has been reported from the United Kingdom as well. Many cases of teenagers setting themselves on fire to meet the challenge were reported from Wales, according to the Daily Mail.
“I can understand there is pressure on young people to gain acceptance or boost their online profiles by doing such risky things as these challenges,’ Jeremy Yarrow, a plastic surgeon at Morriston Hospital, told The Daily Mail.
“But from the patients I see, the results can be very different, with some requiring life support treatment and many left with lifelong scars,” he said.