March 29, 2024

The Chroming Challenge: Handling the pressure of harmful social media trends

Be sure to check out the suggested Huddle question at the bottom of this article to discuss this important topic with your students in class, if you feel it is appropriate.

Social media is filled with trends that rise and fall, from monthly fashion fads to the latest dance crazes. TikTok, in particular, has accelerated this cycle, making trends that once might have lasted a decade fade within a week. With students facing new trends daily, it’s important to empower them to stay aware of the potentially dangerous ones that may be popular among students, such as one new trend, “chroming.”

While certain social media trends, such as last year’s #StudyWithMe movement empowered students and fostered positivity by encouraging communal study sessions, others pose risks to their health and well-being. “Chroming” is a worrying trend gaining traction among students on social media and can be extremely harmful to students’ health and well-being. By being aware of dangerous trends, educators can equip students to handle social media pressure and only participate in trends that empower them, like the #StudyWithMe trend. Let’s dive in.

The “chroming challenge” and how it is impacting students 

“Chroming,” once known as “huffing,” is the act of inhaling toxic chemicals to feel a “buzz.” This is spread on TikTok as a challenge, with videos posted under “chroming challenge.” Under the trend, students posted videos showing them inhaling chemicals from paint thinners, aerosol cans, and more. This growing trend can be fatal, reportedly causing the death of one student in England a few weeks ago. Studies also show that the long-term effects of “chroming” can include memory loss, issues with concentration, lower IQ, and impaired judgment. As of now, TikTok has blocked search results for “chroming challenge,” but one of the videos posted in February has over 700k views and 800k likes

Many students spend a lot of time on TikTok – 1 in 5 teens are on TikTok almost constantly – and they may encounter various trends daily and feel pressure to participate in them. Pew Research Center reported that 29% of teens feel pressure to post content that will get lots of comments or likes. In a world where social media spreads ideas quickly, trends like the “chroming challenge” can garner thousands of likes and views in a few days. As educators, equipping students with the tools to handle the pressure has never been more important so that they can thrive online and offline and navigate the latest trends positively. 

TSI’s Take

Because harmful trends like “chroming” gain widespread popularity on social media, it’s important to empower students to avoid participating in dangerous activities just because their peers are doing it. Educators can do this by teaching students the real-life effects of trends like “chroming.” 

Helping students handle the pressure has never been more important, as it can be difficult for students to resist pressure from friends and peers. A study from 2016 found that students are more likely to like a post on social media if others they follow have liked it. By staying aware of what students engage with on social media, we can encourage them to handle the pressure they might feel to participate in dangerous trends.

Here are some tips you can give students on handling the pressure of social media trends:

  • Understand peer pressure: Help students understand that the behavior of friends and fellow students might affect their decision to participate in an online trend. If they feel pressure, remind them to take a step back and think about the trend and why they want to participate.
  • Consider the effects: Teach students the real-life effects of trends they might encounter online and empower them to make informed and responsible decisions about which trends they want to engage with.
  • Brainstorm positivity: Show students positive trends like the #StudyWithMe challenge and encourage them to develop ideas for similar trends that support students and spread positivity. 

Students can find it challenging to handle the pressures from friends, peers, and others online, but educators can empower them to examine the trends they see online and make informed decisions about what they should participate in. To learn more about empowering students to handle the pressure, check out our #WinAtSocial lesson, Overcoming the fear of missing out on texts, apps, and time with friends

#WinAtSocial Huddle Question

Huddle with your students
Think of a recent social media trend that you think is helpful and positive. Did you participate in it, and how did it make you feel if you did? 

The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in empowering students by understanding students. Through #WinAtSocial, our gamified, peer-to-peer learning platform, we equip students, educators, and families to navigate their social world – in the classroom and beyond, online and offline – in healthy, high-character ways. Our unique, student-respected approach empowers and equips, rather than scares and restricts. We incorporate timely topics about social media, tech use, and current events that are impacting student well-being and learning. #WinAtSocial Lessons teach life skills for the modern day, capture student voice, and provide school leaders with actionable insights. Through these insights, students play an essential role in school efforts to support their own health, happiness, and future success as we enable high-impact teaching, meaningful family conversations, and a healthy school culture.