Janie Lachelle Talley, a 41-year-old mother from North Carolina, sits behind bars this week for her part in assisting her 16-year-old son in a disturbing new social media dare that is gaining in popularity – setting oneself on file. The near self-immolation is the latest risk-taking trend capturing the attention of teens and being documented on video-sharing sites.
Writes The Associated Press on Aug. 12 via MSN News: “Police say they arrested a 41-year-old Charlotte woman accused of helping her teen son set himself on fire as part of a dare known as the ‘fire challenge’ that is gaining popularity in social media. Participants in the challenge pour flammable liquids on themselves and set them ablaze, hopefully extinguishing the flames before they burn the skin.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police confirmed Talley was behind the camera as her unnamed teen son poured fingernail polish on his body and lit himself on fire. The incident occurred on July 29. The teen suffered minor burns to his neck and chest after others quickly put out the fire.
Once the video was posted and began circulating, Talley was turned into the Department of Social Services for her role in the sickening dare game. She was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She is scheduled to return to court in October.
The challenge, gaining popularity on Facebook, encourages people to post a video of themselves on fire. Facebook has since removed many of the videos. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police detectives said Talley “was present and aware of what her son (was) doing and facilitated the recording” of the stunt.
“The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department discourages this activity due to the extreme danger it poses to everyone involved and takes all complaints seriously,” the police said in a statement.
Writes the Charlotte Observer:
Public health and law enforcement agencies across the nation have sharply criticized the fire challenge, which has severely burned several teens across the United States. The ubiquity of smartphones and access to social networking and video-sharing sites has made similar challenges popular in the past. The challenges range from dangerous to benign. For example, some encourage people to record themselves eating a teaspoon of cinnamon or eating Mentos and then drinking Diet Coke.
A YouTube search for Fire Challenge turns up various videos and news reports of this troubling new social media stunt.