Oh Baby: Dangerous stunts seen online put kids in hospital - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oh Baby: Dangerous stunts seen online put kids in hospital

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Most of us did stupid things when we were young. But today's kids are getting even more daring - by copycatting dangerous stunts they see online.

Doctors say they're seeing the results of many of these experiments in emergency rooms. Meet one young man who almost died.

Today 10-year-old Ryan Gooding is lucky to be alive. Last year a bottle exploded in his face, shattering his nose, burning his skin and nearly blinding him.

"When we put the ingredients in the bottle, the bottle got pressurized and then eventually blew up."

His mom Sonya Gooding says the idea came from watching a video online.

"I was furious. I was absolutely furious that he was getting this stuff from youtube and then imitating it," she said.

His story is nothing new to doctor Hani Mansour,  medical director of a major burn center. He says he's seeing four times the amount of burn patients this year versus previous years resulting from failed youtube related experiments.

"Since they don't see the aftermath, they don't see the disaster cases; they see only the successful cases. They think it's harmless. They think it's cute. They think it's a good thing to do," he said.

He says just a quick search of youtube and you'll find hundreds of fire tricks and other dangerous stunts and experiments.

"All these extreme things that they are doing are all like a new culture cause they can publish it, because they can show it to a lot of people," he said.

So why are kids drawn to these risky behaviors? Family therapist Clair Mellenthin says it's mostly a matter of peer pressure and brain-development.

"Their brains are not fully developed at this point to fully grasp the cause and effect of their actions. Kids also think that they're invincible and nothing that they are going to do is really going to be that bad or cause harm," she said.

Now, with the Internet, the whole world becomes a stage.

"So instead of being limited to their tiny little neighborhood or geographic area, and kind of the stunts that are being played in the neighborhood, now they have exposure to what kids are doing and adults are doing worldwide," she said.

So what can parents do to protect their kids? first, consider parental filters for your computer. Monitor your child's Internet history.

Keep an eye out for any injuries that seem out of the ordinary.

And talk to them about the dangers repeatedly.

"Not to scare them, but to let them know that there can be significant consequences to the choices that they're making."

As for Ryan, the reconstructive plastic surgery fixed his nose. And his mom fixed their computer with parental controls. Ryan says he's learned his lesson the hard way.

"If anyone were going to try it, I would suggest not 'cause obviously you've seen what happened to me," he said.

Canadian researchers have also recently reported a growing number of videos demonstrating recreational asphyxiation - commonly known as the choking game. Though this deadly game has been around for decades, experts are worried the web will give it new popularity.

Online Anchor: Sunny Layne

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