The Eraser Challenge game is spreading to schools across the country, prompting students to rub an eraser on their arm until they break the skin.
Educators are warning about the new fad, saying it can lead to infection and serious injuries.
The Eraser Challenge game entails students rubbing an eraser back and forth across their arm while reciting the alphabet. The student playing must say a word for each letter, and by the time they get to the letter Z they stop and see how red their arm has become.
In Connecticut, officials at Bethel Middle School even sent a letter home to parents warning of the “troubling” activity. Principal Derek Muharem said he first heard about the game when students started showing up in the nurse’s office with red marks on their arms, and it has spread quickly from there.
“It’s happening all over,” Muharem said. “What I found out was kids were sharing erasers, so as they broke the skin they were passing the eraser off to somebody else, body fluids being shared, and that’s a concern of mine.”
Doctors said the eraser game can lead to permanent scarring and possible infections.
“What concerns me is that kids see something and they try it because of peer pressure. Our job is to keep kids safe,” Muharem told the Connecticut Post.
Jenny Casey, a social worker at Broadview Middle School’s School Based Health Center, said the Eraser Challenge game could be part of a larger and more troubling trend.
“I would speculate that it’s so easy to jump on the game because there is so much self-mutilation,” she said. “There are a lot of kids who are scratching and cutting themselves. They see it as a coping mechanism. It’s obviously not healthy, but generally it is not a suicidal ideation.”
Videos of the Eraser Challenge game have now begun to show up on YouTube, allowing it to spread even further.