A dangerous trend among kids: 'The Cutting Challenge' on social media
BELLINGHAM — A dangerous trend has parents on edge and kids at risk.
"When I cut myself, it hurt really bad. And since I was using safety scissors it took a while to do it," says Jessika Phillips.
The 17-year-old says she was pressured by classmates to cut her own forearm when she was in middle school.
"They cut themselves, take pictures, show their friends, post it on Facebook," says Phillips.
Jessika says it's known as "the cutting challenge" and kids are taking to social media to post and boast.
One very concerned Bellingham mother wrote "... please talk to your children about the dangers of this game...".
"These fads come and go so quickly that sometimes, we, as parents, don't notice it," says Jessika's mom, Crystal.
Crystal is hoping by speaking out, parents will take the time to talk to their kids.
"In the last five years, we've seen a real increase in cutting," says child psychologist Gregory Jantz.
Experts say cutting is a trend that's happening all over and it's not just about dealing with emotions or stress and anxiety as we've seen in the past.
"It also is a symbol of belonging. A cutter usually knows other kids who are cutters and they belong in this group. So there's a sense of identity with that as well," says Jantz.
The risks of infection and scarring aside, Jessika hopes other kids understand, it's just not worth it.
"Honestly I just think it's a stupid new trend that middle schoolers are doing," says Jessika.
We also reached out to the Bellingham school district. They say: "Safety is always our first priority. If we suspect a student is involved in any kind of harmful activity toward others or themselves, our staff works closely with the student and notifies his or her family for additional support."
If you believe your child may be cutting, Jantz recommends you seek medical advice immediately.