It’s a common enough situation in playgrounds across the world.
One kid, who fancies him- or herself as an Alpha, challenges others to do something really stupid to prove themselves in some silly way – usually involving outsmarting the nearest responsible adult.
They might make a show of doing it themselves (although it’s more likely they’ll pretend, because they aren’t stupid enough to do something they’re telling other youngsters to do).
Children often come to harm because of these silly challenges – and almost always get into trouble with the authorities.
The coronavirus has brought us a new wrinkle on this old scam – a version of Russian roulette in which kids challenge each other to lick surfaces that may or may not be infected.
How stupid would you have to be, to risk infection and possible death like that?
How desperate for acceptance into somebody else’s gang?
The craze seems to have its origin with Missouri idiot Cody Pfister, who took a video of himself licking items at his local Walmart store and posted it on the social media.
It isn’t clear whether he was saying he didn’t have the coronavirus and nor did the products, or whether he was saying he did – and was deliberately infecting the packaging on these items so other people would get it too.
As a result, local police said they had been contacted with complaints from the Netherlands, Ireland and the UK.
That’s right: people here who have seen the video have been copying it – most likely with the kind of challenge described above.
There is so much wrong with this, it’s enough to make your head spin.
Firstly, if you have children, they are supposed to be in lockdown. That means they don’t mix with other people’s kids.
So how are they being challenged to do this damned stupid thing?
Secondly, licking items on shop shelves – or elsewhere (I know of other examples but won’t be giving anybody ideas by mentioning them here) – is a filthy thing to do in its own right.
Your kids could catch any number of diseases by doing it, and end up putting a huge extra strain on the National Health Service.
Finally, coronavirus is a mass killer. Sure, children have been shown to be more resilient than some others – unless they have underlying or hidden vulnerabilities. Then they’re as likely to die as an 80-year-old with respiratory disease.
If you’re a parent and you’ve been letting your kids play with others, or haven’t been monitoring what they’ve seen on the Internet, or simply don’t know what they’ve been doing, it might be time for a serious talk.
It’s up to you, of course.
But if you don’t, you could be putting any number of other people at risk of touching infected surfaces, the NHS at risk of extra strain it doesn’t need, and your own child at risk of death.
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