Posted: Apr 03, 2014 10:00 AM
 
If you're not familiar with the eraser challenge, now's the time to learn what it's all about. Teenagers are mutilating themselves with erasers to see who can do the most damage.
Photo credit: Katrina Leigh Grinn/ iStock/360/ Getty Images

While for some it's nothing new, many parents don't realize that something seemingly as harmless as a pencil eraser can actually inflict damage if used in the wrong way. But it can, and students at a Connecticut middle school are doing it enough that administration has sent home a letter to parents warning them about the practice.

Peer pressure

The letter states that at least a dozen students at the school are known to have participated in the challenge, which involves rubbing a pencil eraser on the skin for a certain amount of time and comparing the damage that results. Essentially, the kids are erasing their skin while reciting the alphabet, for example, and coming up with a word for each letter.

The concern is not only with the injuries themselves, but some kids are sharing the erasers, even after their skin has been broken, which poses another risk as bodily fluids are being shared.

The concern is not only with the injuries themselves, but some kids are sharing the erasers, even after their skin has been broken, which poses another risk as bodily fluids are being shared. Teachers feel that it's probably peer pressure that encourages kids to damage themselves this way, but some students opted to tell staff when some of the injuries were too extreme.

Is this a new game?

I personally have never heard of the eraser challenge, but a quick glance through comments about the practice tells me that this is nothing new and has been going on since even we were kids. However, with the internet, the idea has the ability to spread and it may be more pervasive. I couldn't actually bring myself to click on any of the videos, but a quick YouTube search resulted in plenty of options if you want to see it for yourself.

It's a good idea to be aware and on the lookout for unusual injury to your child's arms or even legs now that spring has sprung for many of us. And even if you don't suspect your child is participating, have a talk about why it's not such a good idea to wound yourself with a pencil eraser and then share those same erasers with your friends.

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