This week in the news there was an article stating 2 teen girls died playing a game called ‘Ghost Train.’ It seems, the idea behind the game is scary fun. The teens drove their car (full of 5 people) onto train tracks and fogged up the windows, in anticipation of experiencing a ghost. Unfortunately, a train approached. As the train got closer, they all tried to then jump out of the car. 3 teens successful made it out of the vehicle, but the 2 who died panicked and couldn’t unfasten their seat belts. The driver, who’d made it out, tried to go back to help them and now is in critical condition in the hospital.

Per the news report, the parents knew the teens had ‘played’ this game before, though they didn’t condone it.

Teens are often pushing limits and boundaries. It’s a normal part of growing and developing into the adults they will become. They are impulsive and often don’t think all the way through to the consequences of actions. Even if they do envision consequences, they may not believe anything bad will happen to them, or they may be influenced by peers to ignore dangers in the pursuit of fun. What may start as a game or prank can quickly turn into something deadly.

There are definitely other teen ‘games’ out there and teens will come up with new ones. Another ‘game’ that I’ve heard of is the ‘choking game’ where teens choke themselves or a friend in order to get high. The lack of oxygen to the brain leads to a sense of euphoria. This ‘game’ can turn deadly if a teen accidentally strangles them self. We also recently had a post on the ‘cinnamon challenge‘ which is a spin on truth or dare that can also have dangerous consequences.

So how can parents protect teens from playing dangerous games?

  • Communicate with your teen. Talk with them about what they’re doing when they hang out with friends.
  • Know your teens friends and their parents. Other parents of teens may fill you in on activities their kids are participating in. If you have a relationship with them, they’ll likely alert you if a teen mentions something that could potentially be dangerous.
  • If you’re worried about an activity, ask for more details and tell your teen and their friends what worries you. They may not have even realized what they are doing could be dangerous.