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Hey Kids, Stop With the Eraser Challenge, Already

Jenn is perhaps best known as the author of the popular parenting blog Breed ‘Em and Weep (2005-2012). She’s written for many magazines, newspapers and websites, including Brain, Child Magazine, Literary Mama, and The Boston Globe. Jenn’...

Why are you rubbing erasers on yourselves, children? Stop it!

Dear Youth of America,

We hear that a lot of you have been playing the "eraser challenge" lately — you know, that incredibly stupid game where you rub an eraser as hard as humanly possible on your own skin while reciting the alphabet or some crap or other. The goal is the same now as it was when we were kids: to see how long the participants can endure the disintegration of the top three levels of dermis. Good clean fun!

Frankly, if this is your idea of a fun time, what is wrong with you? Do you even know the alphabet? Any alphabet at all?

We're tired of the whole "parents, here's what you need to know about the eraser challenge" angle.

Kids, here's what you need to know about the eraser challenge:

This eraser madness isn't new. When we were kids, we could only watch the eraser challenge if we had a good vantage point: the desk next to the idiot who'd do anything for attention; the bus seat in front of the twins mauling each other with erasers until they both bawled.

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But social media now means scores of you kids and teenagers are filming yourselves shredding your skin with erasers and howling in pain.

Now, an alien from another planet might assume this behavior (and subsequent video documentation) would have a warning effect on other young humans, keeping them from attempting this self-torture. Surprise, alien races! Kids watch these videos and feel inspired to do it to themselves! WE HUMANS ARE THE SMARTEST. (Fist bump among all of humanity)

Kids, in lingo we hope you will comprehend: Can you just not? Please. Erasers are filled with bacteria. Rubbing a bacteria-laden thing all over you until you break the skin results in infection — including antibiotic-resistant staph or strep that could land you in the hospital. And they don't look kindly on antibiotic-resistant strains of staph and strep in the hospital, so don't expect any Popsicles or good TV, you morons. Oh, and there's also toxic shock syndrome. Look that one up.

Nobody wants to be around someone who is oozing pus. It's just a cold, hard fact of life. You will never get any action if you are covered in raised, infected welts.

Many schools are issuing warnings to parents and teachers to be on the lookout for this "trend." Eraser wounds are a trend. This does not bode well for the trajectory of human evolution. If you survive, kids, and pass along these eraser-challenge-yay-awesome genes, you are weakening the human race and deserve to be grounded for life in an eraser-free compound.

Fortunately (we guess), eraser wounds are pretty easy to spot — considering you guys are tearing significant areas of flesh wide open and leaving behind pink rubber-sprinkled, infected wounds that look like zombie bites. So if we catch you with a zombie bite that smells like an Algebra test, trust us: We know what's going on.

We like the Kansas City parent who told WDAF-TV, "I thought it was the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life." Yes, that is a pretty fair summation, we think.

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Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a Seattle pediatrician who writes the Seattle Mama Doc blog. She told Today, "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."

Kids, there are other ways to get attention. Why not try the nap challenge? Who in your peer group can nap the longest after school? Set up your phone cams and group nap your way to internet fame without the threat of flesh-eating bacteria or hospitalization.

Napping not your thing? No problemo. How about an old-fashioned who-can-read-the-most-banned-books challenge? Swap the most infamous books of all time with your buddies. Read 'em all! Trade 'em with your friends! Impress your parents, impress your teachers and impress your dream college! Books are better than erasers. No one in the history of the universe has ever preferred an eraser to a book, and books can only give you paper cuts.

How about the feed-sandwiches-to-the-homeless challenge? The surprise-your-parents-with-massive-hugs-for-no-reason challenge? The drink-eight-full-glasses-of-water-a-day challenge?

Seriously, just find another challenge already, would you?

Sincerely,

The Grownups Who Love You Despite Your Stupidity

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