I often receive messages on my Facebook page "warning" me that if I don't share the post, I will die, lose my hair or experience similar consequences. I ignore these spam posts when I come across them, just like any sane person would. But I'm an adult, and when this little five-year-old girl believed such a post, she paid a painful price.
Russian police are investigating a Facebook group that tells their readers how they can become fairies.
What the message says
"At midnight when everybody is asleep, get up from your bed and go around the room three times, then say the magical words: 'Alfey kingdom, sweet little fairies, give me the power, I'm asking you.'"
"Then go to the kitchen silently, so no one notices you or the magic of the words will disappear. Switch on the gas stove, all four burners. But do not light it. You don't want to get burns, do you?"
"Then go to sleep. The magic gas will come to you, you will breathe it while sleeping and in the morning, when you wake up, say: 'Thank you Alfey, I've become a fairy.' And you will become a real fairy of fire."
The intent of the message is obviously to kill the people who live in the home and look for child targets who don't realize what they are doing.
Five-year-old Sofia Ezchova saw the message and decided to "become a fairy," and she was burned while playing with her hair and turning on the oven.
This sort of "game" has also been developed in Russia, and has claimed several lives. After parents complained about the message to the police, Lt. Andrei TuTuev took the case.
According to statements by the researcher in charge, Minina, they know this is a suicide game, but do not know who are responsible.
A Russian investigations committee believes it's simply a scare tactic, but with victims of the ruse being severely injured or killed, it is more than just for scare.
The real issue at hand
Cell phones and tablets are the new pacifier for children under five years old.
In these cases of violence, parents are responsible. Why is a five-year-old girl reading cryptic messages in the middle of the night on the internet?
We have all seen parents giving their tablets to their children for entertainment starting at a young age, and lack of supervision can lead to horrible consequences.
Children spend up to 45 hours per week with a cell phone, tablet or computer, which is equivalent to the number of hours an adult spends working each week.
The terrible consequences
The explosion of images in YouTube videos over-stimulates children. In fact, there may be speech or language-specific disorders in children as young as four or five years old that result from too much time spent on electronic devices.
Be aware and responsible for what your children see and do. Do not let them fall victim as Sofia did. Protect your children and educate them about the dangers of the internet and how to surf the web safely.
This article has been adapted and translated from the original, Pequeña de 5 años lee en Internet un mensaje macabro que le dice cómo convertirse en hada, ella no ve el peligro y lo hace. It was originally published on familias.com.