Current online challenges and crazes; a guide for schools

Online challenges and crazes.

Online challenges and crazes are viral trends that spread rapidly, usually through social media platforms. They can involve anything from dance challenges along to trending songs and DIY experiments, to risky dares and anti-social behaviour that impacts others. Children might engage in these trends due to a sense of peer pressure, a desire for attention, or simply because they find it entertaining!

Online challenges

As the summer holidays come to an end and students start returning to school, it’s inevitable their activities over the holidays are going to make their way into the classroom! With easy access to the internet, children are often exposed to a number of online challenges and crazes that take social media by storm.

Some of these can just be a bit of harmless fun (remember the ice bucket challenge, brrrr!). But some also encourage potentially harmful behaviour too. Therefore it’s vital to be proactive in responding to these trends and promote a positive and safe online environment for your students

Current online challenges to watch out for.

One of the current challenges doing the rounds on social media is where teenagers are overdosing on paracetamol, in order to see who can stay in hospital the longest. There’s also been recent flash-mob lootings in London that were prompted by videos encouraging people to take part in raids on shops.

Aside from the obvious worrying impacts to their health, there are also risks of anti-social behaviour leading to arrests. This could seriously jeopardise their future if they have a criminal record.

Managing online trends in school.

It’s almost impossible to restrict your students from seeing or doing things outside of school. But it’s when it makes it’s way into the classroom that we can help! So let’s take a look at some practical tips for how your school can manage online challenges and crazes:

Stay informed.

By regularly engaging with students, parents and fellow teachers (or even your own children!) you can get an insight into what’s trending on social media. This will help you identify and address any potential issues before they escalate. Educate parents about the online challenges and crazes that are circulating, so they can talk to and support their children at home. It’s also a good idea to engage with other schools to share your experiences and strategies in dealing with trends!

React quickly.

If you come across any content that promotes harmful behaviour or poses a risk to your students and others around them, address it quickly by informing colleagues, parents and your DSL. You can also celebrate positive online trends (for example, ones that encourage charity, creativity and community engagement).

Create safe spaces.

Create an open and safe space where your students feel comfortable discussing their online experiences and any worries they have. It’s important to encourage them to talk openly about the challenges or crazes they come across. And most importantly, make sure they know they can approach you with any questions or concerns without fear of judgement!

Encourage digital literacy.

The internet is almost everywhere! Teaching students to be confident, but safe when surfing the web, and recognising online challenges will help them understand the potential consequences of participating in them (both good and bad).

Teach responsible online behaviour.

Encourage your students to think before they take part in any online challenge or craze. What is the potential impact on themselves or others? If it goes against their values, then they should think twice about taking part.

Set clear guidelines.

Establish clear guidelines for technology and internet use during school. Make sure children understand your school’s policy on recording and sharing videos, as well as respecting personal boundaries, privacy and consent.

How can we help?

We cover lots of topics in our blog that can help your school with online safety and digital wellbeing. There’s also some great resources from UKSIC, Internet Matters and the Department for Education.

And although we can’t stop your students seeing online challenges and crazes on social media when they’re at home, we can while they’re in school! Whether that’s through our school internet filtering solution, range of firewalls for schools or reliable school cloud services which will ensure you meet the DfE requirements. Take a look at our website or get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help.

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