Trinidad Education Ministry issues warning about “dangerous” internet challenge in schools

Education Minister Anthony Garcia says students need to be encouraged to spend time away from computer screens and be encouraged to play.

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Education Minister Anthony Garcia. (Photo: stabroeknews)

Garcia made the comment as his ministry issued a warning on Saturday, about a dangerous internet game challenge that is increasing in popularity at schools throughout the twin-island republic.

In a statement on Saturday, the ministry described the Jump/Trip challenge as one in which   three individuals in a line attempt to jump, but the unsuspecting middle person is tripped.

The challenge – also referred to as the Tripping Jump Challenge or the Skull-breaker Challenge, has already resulted in one student sustaining a broken arm.

“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. I am of the firm belief that our youth are wise enough to know that this is one challenge in which there should be no consideration of participation,” the Education Minister said.

The Ministry noted that 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.

“I am of the firm belief that our youth are wise enough to know that this is one challenge in which there should be no consideration of participation.”

Parents and teachers have been asked 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.”

The Ministry of Education added that it understands how social media can be an agent for behaviour change and hopes that the chosen behaviours that would be mimicked are ones that help and not hurt peers or any other person.

The Ministry indicated that officials will be in contact with the school and family of the injured student and Student Support Services Division will be making intervention across schools to caution students on the dangers of many of these internet challenges that have been gaining popularity.