"It is dangerous and is not a game to be played by anyone at all, under any circumstances."
This warning has come from Education Minister Anthony Garcia following the emergence of a new Internet challenge game in schools across T&T, which has already landed at least one student in the hospital with a broken arm.
Referred to as the Jump/Trip Challenge, the game which has its origin in South America, has three people jumping but the person in the middle is kicked so he/she can fall.
The act is supposed to be filmed and posted online.
Garcia appealed to principals and parents who have the authority over students to "please discourage them from partaking in this kind of activity."
In a release, education officials warned: "Involvement in this activity does not only have serious repercussions on the physical health of someone who is tripped but as has happened in the United States of America, parents of injured children have sought legal redress."
The minister urged parents and teacher "to quell any attempts to have this activity started among their children/charges with the relevant conversations with the use of supporting material that can be found online."
Acknowledging the reach that social media, coupled with students facing peer pressure could have on individuals, Garcia said, "We understand how social media can be an agent for behaviour change and we hope that the chosen behaviours that would be mimicked, are ones that help and not hurt peers or any other person."
Referring to the incident that resulted in the T&T student’s injury, he stated, "We have and continue to encourage students to play and spend time away from screens. However, whenever those games become injurious to another person or can potentially seriously do harm, it is no longer a game that should be played."
Garcia said ministry officials would be in contact with the family of the injured student.
Meanwhile, the Student Support Services Division is expected to intervene in schools to caution students on the dangers of many of these Internet challenges that have been gaining popularity.
What Is The Jump/Trip Challenge
Also referred to as the Skull-breaker Challenge, it appears to have originated in South America but schools and parents in the United States have just started warning others about it.
The challenge could cause serious injuries, but it’s not clear just how prevalent it is.
The challenge is simple in concept but takes two to play it and an innocent victim to make fun of.
A ten-year-old of Berwick Alternative Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, ended up with a swelling at the back of her head after slamming it against the concrete floor of the school playground.
The Austin Police Department began an investigation into a similar case involving a student at the Austin Independent School District, who sustained head injuries after being tricked into the challenge at the school library.
In Florida, parents of a victim pressed charges against two Seabreeze High School students who performed the tripping jump challenge on their daughter (who was said to be a special needs student).
And on February 8, an Arizona mother shared that her son was knocked unconscious with a head injury after two boys performed the jump/trip challenge on him.
Anyone who hits their head like that can suffer anything from a concussion to a skull fracture, a haematoma, a subarachnoid haemorrhage, or even a diffuse axonal injury that can lead to permanent brain damage or even death.