Beware of the “panic” around the LabelloChallenge and suicide

On the social networksmany Internet users are alarmed about the LabelloChallenge or JeuxduLabello. On TikTokwhere the subject is particularly viral, many publications warn the children or teenagers on this challenge and implore them not to take part. There would be several variants, also relayed in the media. The first would be for a person to voluntarily injure themselves, then cover the wound with balm.

But two other versions worry parents: either a piece of balm must be cut for each bad moment, or it is a question of applying it every day. At the end of the tube, in both cases, the person would then have to commit suicide. “Be very vigilant, alerts a user in a viral post on Facebook, if your child asks you for a Labello. »

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Already in March 2021, articles in English or in French alerted to a “disturbing” challenge. This time the ChapstickChallenge was mentioned, Chapstick being a well-known brand of lip balm in the United States. The same challenges were mentioned leading to the risk of suicide, without the Labello brand being mentioned at the time. Similarly, many posts on social networks wanted to warn teenagers about this challenge.

Where does this challenge come from? On Youtubewe can still find traces of a rather innocuous challenge at the start: in videos dating back to 2017, people apply lip balm, another kisses them and has to guess the taste (chocolate, orange, strawberry etc.).

“A hypersensitivity on the part of adults”

It is on TikTok that the challenge has transformed in a more morbid way, with first occurrences linked to suicide in the spring of 2021 through the Chapstick Challenge, then the Labello Challenge in April this year. For Samuel Comblez, director of operations of e-Enfance, an association for the protection of children on the Internet, we must remain cautious about the phenomenon. He tells us that he has received two calls concerning the LabelloChallenge (and none on the ChapstickChallenge for a year).

Last week, a CPE wanted to find out after hearing students talk about it, but showing no desire to act. A primary school principal also contacted the association, which intervenes in schools and is approved by the Ministry of National Education, to discuss the case of a little girl who said she was in bad shape and wanted to do it. In 2019, after a period of observation, the association analyzed the Momo Challengeanother viral challenge, like “an urban legend”.

“What we note, on the other hand, is a hypersensitivity on the part of parents, adults, who see certain challenges as a major risk for teenagers”, he underlines, and who believe that they would be many do. He sees it as a reflection of their lack of knowledge of everyday life in the digital sphere. “As soon as a challenge emerges, there is a bit of panic,” he says. On the contrary, he points to the “maturity of adolescents, who are well aware of the dangerous, sometimes a little light or absurd nature of these challenges” and who have “a fairly developed critical sense”.

Be sensitive to “the most fragile”

But Samuel Comblez wants to temper his remarks, it is not a question of completely ignoring the situation either. He advocates prevention: “You have to be sensitive to the most fragile, they need support. The idea is to be able to verbalize your discomfort with an attentive ear. The spoken word has a therapeutic effect. On Twitter, the Ministry of the Interior calls for attention and gives the national number for suicide prevention (3114).

“It’s not the challenge that creates discomfort, adds the director of operations of e-Enfance, the challenge is there to reveal a discomfort that cannot be expressed. Young people might want to express themselves, to use it as a means of transmission. “When you say: I want to die, and I’m going to stage it, it brings a community of help, this young person wanted to attract attention to get help,” he believes.

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Beware of the “panic” around the LabelloChallenge and suicide


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