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The Eraser Challenge is a dare game that involves rubbing a rubber eraser against one’s skin while reciting the English alphabet. Although it has been played by teenagers for years, the challenge drew attention from the news media and school officials in April 2014 after a Connecticut middle school principal alerted the parents about the dangers of the game.
The hashtag #eraserchallenge was first tweeted out on January 29th, 2012, by @StayTrueee_:
Imma Come To School With All These Damn Cuts On My Arm , smh #EraserChallenge
GabrielaSayssss</p>— StayTrueee_ (StayTrueee_) January 29, 2012
The first Eraser Challenge video was uploaded to YouTube on March 25th, 2012, by YouTuber Rose Samples. The video titled “Eraser Challenge” showed her furiously rubbing a pencil’s eraser onto her arm while listing off words for each letter of the alphabet. As of March 2014, the video has gained over 30,000 views.
Eraser Challenge videos continued to spread through YouTube throughout 2012 and 2013, with some videos focusing on the injuries inflicted by the game rather than recording the game itself. On October 18th, 2012, YouTuber Bryson Sakacsi uploaded a video titled “What happened to me when I did the eraser challenge” (below, left) in which he advises against trying the challenge and shows off his eraser burn scars. As of March 2014, the video has gained over 3,000 views. On April 25th, 2013, YouTuber Ryan Martinez uploaded a video titled “Eraser challenge (painful)” (below, right) which features the large red burn he got from the challenge. As of March 2014, the video has gained over 3,000 views.
The game gained new attention after a middle school principal in Bethel, Connecticut warned parents of the game and the concern was covered by local news station WTNH on March 28th, 2014. The game was subsequently covered by sites like UpRoxx, The Huffington Post, and Medical Daily.