Mom Helps Set Her Son on Fire for Facebook Stunt

A North Carolina mom has been arrested for allegedly helping her 16-year-old son light himself on fire as part of a viral "Fire Challenge" that has made the rounds on Facebook.

Janie Talley, 41, reportedly helped film her son as he doused himself with nail polish remover and lit his body on fire. The video was then uploaded to Facebook, where an anonymous viewer watched it and then tipped off Child Protective Services. They contacted police, who were able to find and apprehend Talley.

Frighteningly, this teen -- who suffered minor burns to his neck and chest -- wasn't the first and probably won't be the last to take on similar online stunts.


Two young people from North Carolina, ages 12 and 14, were also recently admitted to the hospital and had to undergo surgery as a result of taking the "fire challenge." And, in New York, a 15-year-old named James Shores reportedly died after taking on the fire dare.

Thankfully, Facebook has gotten hip to these online challenges, most of which consist of someone video taping him or herself doing something wacky and then nominating two or three "friends" to perform the same act. The social media network pulled all of the "fire challenge" vids in order to avoid copycat posts.

It’s one thing to take the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” which I’ve seen EVERYWHERE recently and involves folks sitting and allowing someone to pour a bucket of ice over their heads in order to raise awareness for ALS. But who in the world would think it is a good idea to allow their teen to set his body on fire? The worst thing that could happen is, well, DEATH. Why would anyone allow their child to take this chance?

Kids, and especially teens, have and always will search for ways to seem cool in front of their friends. I remember being horrified when I learned my husband and his buddies used to jump over the subway tracks in New York City when they were 16 -- and he assured me that “all boys” do similar foolish things.

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We can’t prevent our kids from going out and taking chances. But we should be aware of the role social media sites now play in helping kids promote dangerous behavior. And, assuming this mom is guilty of standing by and allowing her son to do something so reckless, shame on her. She's lucky he's alive today.

Talley was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Her court date is set for early October.

What consequence do you feel Talley should face if she is found guilty?


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