AI-Powered service for parents warns of lethal social media challenges

Scanning millions of social data points per second, the Lethal Trends service identifies harmful viral trends with an AI-powered system and places them on a live map.


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Helsinki, Finland
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Dangerous social media trends have become more common among young people, and
parents often feel they are alone with the issue. To help parents, Finnish Mannerheim
League for Child Welfare (MLL) has established an AI-powered warning service for
dangerous social media challenges. Scanning millions of social data points per second,
the Lethal Trends service identifies harmful viral trends with an AI-powered system and
places them on a live map. Registered users receive automated warnings of harmful
social media challenges in their area via text message.

According to a recent report by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL), the majority of
surveyed children and teenagers in Finland have encountered dangerous social media
challenges.* These challenges often appear as play and fun, making it difficult for children to
recognize them as harmful or even deadly. MLL's new service alerts parents about locally
spreading challenges so that no one has to hear about them before it’s too late.

The Lethal Trends warning service is a free platform for parents where they can alert of a locally
trending challenge, browse trending challenges on a live map, and register for local text
message notifications. The AI-powered system behind the Lethal Trends service scans millions
of social data points per second in real-time, and by performing numeric projections, it detects
harmful challenges on TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. Registered users are warned in real
time about locally emerging harmful challenges before they become viral.



“Young people in particular are vulnerable to viral social media challenges. While it is important
for parents to be aware of their children's media landscape, it is impossible to know all the time
what kind of content your child is spending time with. Our service allows parents to share
information about harmful and dangerous social media challenges and trends”, says Paula
Aalto, MLL's Head of School Cooperation and Digital Youth Work.

She believes that as long as service providers and legislation do not adequately protect children
in digital environments, parents must make efforts to ensure that both children and adults have
enough information at their disposal. "Our goal is that social media challenges would no longer
endanger the life of any child or young person", Aalto says.

In Memory of Niilo, a Victim of a Social Media Challenge

The adverse effects of a social media challenge became a painful reality for Jonna Penttilä. A
social media challenge led Jonna’s son Niilo to climb onto the roof of an abandoned train, where
he encountered a lethal electric shock from a power line. Niilo was a cheerful and active young
person, known as the entertainer of the group. At the time of the events, he was completing his
second-year in building technology studies. Jonna had a close relationship with her son and
described them as a good team.

"I am deeply touched that Niilo's memory can help protect young people from dangerous social
media challenges. I wish that such a service had been available earlier to support parents. I
hope that in the future, no parent will have to find themselves in the same situation," says
Penttilä, Niilo's mother. 

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