A Detroit mother is calling for parents to talk to their kids about dangerous challenges being shared on social media after her 12-year-old daughter was hospitalized with severe burns after mimicking the so-called "fire challenge."
Brandi Owens' daughter Timiyah Landers was engulfed by flames on Aug. 17 after imitating the fire challenge, where a person sets part of their body ablaze before dousing out the flames.She is expected to be hospitalized for months while undergoing several surgeries, she wrote on a GoFundMe page.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Owens said she had gone to take a nap while her daughter was playing with two friends then was startled by a popping sound. She next saw Landers, covered in flames, running down a hallway yelling "help me!" Her fiancee helped rush Landers to the bathtub where they were able to put out the fire before rushing Landers to the hospital.
The other girls later said that Landers had poured rubbing alcohol on her arms and one of her friends lit the fire, not expecting the challenge to go awry, Owens told the Post.
In her GoFundMe page, Owens linked what happened to her daughter to videos of the fire challenge found on YouTube.
"Children often do not realize that life is a precious gift and that they cannot copy things that they see on the internet," she wrote, saying that the experience has "shaken our family to the core."
Landers is not the first person to be hospitalized over the fire challenge, where reports of injuries have made headlines periodically in recent years.
The dare appears to have grown out of a YouTube video in 2012 before gaining popularity there and on now-shuttered social media platform Vine in 2013 and 2014, according to KnowYourMeme.com. Other versions of the challenge involve moving a flame close to one's body.
"There's a misconception that they're going to be able to light themselves on fire, get a cool video and then quickly put the flames with shower water," said burn specialist Stephanie Campbell of Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital back in 2016 in the wake of a new case. "But it's absolutely not true."
As of Tuesday, a search of "Fire Challenge" on YouTube mostly showed reports from years ago about people getting hurt.
YouTube did not answer questions about how many such videos are still availble on its platform but said it removes "flagged videos."
"YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that's intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm or death," a spokesperson said in a statement. "We remove flagged videos that violate our policies."
There is no video of the Detroit incident on YouTube.
The original video of the phenomenon listed by KnowYourMeme was removed frin YouTube Tuesday morning after NBC contacted YouTube.
YouTube is not alone among social media companies in having hosted videos of dares over the years, like the Tide Pod Challenge, Condom Challenge and Cinnamon Challenge.
NBC has reached out to Facebook and Snap for comment on what steps they take to curtail such videos.