Where do these tween/teen games come from?
Warn your kids about a game that Dr. Kardos learned about from some tweens recently: inhale Smarties ®. Young teens at a party took intact packages of Smarties® candy and used their cell phones (!) to smash the candies into a fine dust inside their cellophane wrappers. Then they peeled off the end of the roll and sucked the dust into their mouths (imagine a “Smarties®” cigarette), and exhaled, causing Smarties® smoke to spew from their mouths. They spit out any candy that was left in their mouths. The thrill came from creating Smarties® smoke.
I was glad that the kids who told me about this game saw that this was a not-so-smart game to play (click here for another example of a not-so smart game). No, this does not count as “smoking” and is likely not addictive, but this story begs several teaching points for parents of tweens/teens:
1- Tweens and teens need supervision at parties.
2- Teach your kids never to inhale anything except AIR. Anything else can cause coughing, irritation to the lungs, and possible infection. Do not inhale Smarties ®!
3- Young teens especially are prone to “mob mentality.” Teach them if their friends do something that they have never done before, to think long and hard about possible consequences before following the crowd. Ask them to think, “What’s the worst that can happen if I do this?”
4- Know your children’s friends. If you know they are thrill seekers, attention grabbers, or prone to engage in questionable behaviors, make sure you have frequent talks with your kid about smart choices. Sign your child up for activities that allow opportunities to become friendly with an alternative crowd.
If you see kids engaged in risky behaviors, even if they are not your own children, stop them. Someone has to care. Hopefully someone else is watching out for your kids, too.
Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2014 Two Peds in a Pod®