Although there is nothing new about erasers in school or kids challenging each other to do stupid things, many parents aren't aware of the "eraser challenge" and why it can be harmful to their children. This dare is continuing to bubble up on social media and capture the attention of young kids as they show off their wounds.
"Kids are rubbing an eraser across their skin while having to do or say something. It's causing serious burns," read a statement on Facebook from East Iredell Middle School in Statesville, NC. "These 'challenges' have gotten out of hand."
The challenge varies, but in one version, kids dare each other to recite the alphabet while they rub their skin as hard as possible with an eraser. Kids boast about who can last the longest even after they are left with burns and cuts from the "game."
"I think children are lonely. They sit in front of the internet and they don't have anyone to be accountable to," one parent told WCNC.
Part of the danger of this challenge is the different types of infections that can be caused from rubbing a dirty eraser into a wound. "It is important to understand that pencil erasers are far from clean. They may have been borrowed from a teacher or other student, in someone's mouth, or dropped on the floor, etc. Rubbing them against their skin until an opening in the skin develops can result in a severe infection," warned Warren Hills Middle School in New Jersey on their website. They also explained that that "eraser burn" can lead to staph or strep infections, or other diseases, including hepatitis and HIV.
"These are kids acting like kids. It seems like there's this bravado in it, there's this easy accessibility . . . when you're thinking about the social dynamics of children trying to belong, trying to get attention and show strength, it isn't that surprising," Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician, told Today. "Kids don't know this, but your skin isn't sterile, it's crawling and teeming with bacteria and when you open up your skin, that bacteria can crawl in and cause an infection."