(This blog is written to inform parents and others of disturbing trends of teenagers.)
Did you have a tween or teen who asked Santa for the new Twilight movie, Eclipse? With Twilight, True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, vampires have become the new craze among tweens and teens. And with this new craze comes another disturbing trend...Biting!
Biting has become the new "hickey", but while hickeys only bruise the skin, biting breaks the skin and draws blood. According to CNN.com, "high schoolers say it's a way to show someone you care about them and that you are chosen - just like in the movies. Bite marks have now even started to be a status symbol. Teens are sporting these bites on their arms, necks, and even faces." Unlike vampires of the past (ugly and scary), vampires of today display feelings of love through biting the one they love and sharing blood. This demonstrates ultimate love.
WHY ARE TEENS BITING?
- To show they "care". "It's another form of kissing, but everyone can see it."
- A mark of love. "Wearing the bite mark shows that someone likes you enough to bite you."
- Pain is exciting. Teenagers who regularly cut, use biting as another way to feel the pain, but it is not as dangerous as cutting.
- It is not permanent.
- One disturbing aspect of biting is it is a way for teens to "mark" their "territory".
DANGERS OF BITING:
- Biting can carry with it life-threatening consequences, such as spreading blood-borne diseases, including hepatitis, syphilis, and HIV.
- The human mouth carries millions of bacteria, which can cause a blood infection. (Tetanus shots are the general treatment for human bites.)
If you notice your teen has a bite, you will want to watch for signs of infection.
- Increased swelling, redness or tenderness at the site of the bite.
- Pus coming from the bite mark.
- Red streaks.
- A feeling of heat extending from the bite.
- Wound does not heal within ten days.
Biting does appear to be regional. Neither of my daughters are big Twilight/vampire fans, and talking with them about biting, neither one knows anyone that is biting.
As long as there are movies, television, and music, there will always be new fads that attract our teenagers...some good...some not so good. And while biting is not as dangerous as some of the other teen trends, we still need to talk to our teens about biting and about the health risks involved. Arm your teen with the power of knowledge, so he/she will be able to make informed decisions.