Duval partnership combats social media 'challenges'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A partnership is being formed locally to fight what has become popular on social media -- challenges. In the spotlight now are young people who set themselves on fire and share video of the experience on social media.

Related: Another teen hurt in "Fire Challenge"

"I had a friend who did fire challenge, he burned himself really bad," said Terrence Harden who is a member of the youth group at Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.

The church is teaming up with Duval County Schools to help reach young people on the dangers of the challenges.

Related: Burned teen warns others of dangers of "Fire Challenge"

"I have opened up our doors for that type of collaboration again because we cannot do it alone," said Superintendent Nikolia Vitti who is on board with allowing youth pastors in schools to talk to teens before they feel the pressure to take part in any social media challenge.

Youth pastor Anthony O'Neal is with Bethel Baptist and last year spent many days in local schools. He says the need to fight back has never been greater.

"We need to start now before this thing gets higher and the challenges even get worse," said O'Neal who is hoping 100 youth pastors will get involved and become part of the school landscape to challenge "social media challenges."

Bishop Rudolph McKissick Jr. says the partnership is needed to give teens direction to resist what can be life threatening actions.

"This fight is one we are in to win and we are not going to stop until win it, guarantee you that," said the pastor from Bethel Baptist.


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