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Mom Arrested for Helping Son Set Himself on Fire

Mom helps son complete dangerous viral fad known as the "fire challenge"
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

A North Carolina mom was arrested Tuesday for apparently helping her son complete an Internet challenge, filming it to share on social media. From just that alone, it sounds like some nice, supportive mom stuff, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

Forty-one-year-old Janie Talley of Charlotte is accused of aiding her son in completing the "fire challenge," in which participants pour flammable liquids over themselves and then set themselves aflame, hoping to put out the fire before it burns them.

(Excuse us for a second, but…WHAT IN THE?!)

Talley's 16-year-old son suffered minor burns after he was set on fire, and then (naturally) panicked while trying to put them out. The Charlotte mom wasn't the only person standing by, though — others had to jump in to help her son put out the flames, too — but it was still recorded and posted online, where it eventually caught the attention of authorities.

According to the Associated Press, Talley has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

If you ask us, the only thing more mind-boggling than this story is the fact that such a fad exists in the first place, and that anyone in their right mind would want to do it. Yet according to countless reports, it's been taking off in a big way this year, and leaving kids and teens with serious injuries as a result.

Last month, an 11-year-old boy from Miami was hospitalized after seeing the challenge on Facebook and trying to recreate it. The same thing happened to a 15-year-old from Kentucky, who suffered second-degree burns after the challenge, and a 14-year-old from Texas who wound up in the hospital. The viral fad has become such a concern that sites like Facebook and YouTube are warning parents to talk their kids about the dangers of participating. In the meantime, hospitals have been reporting an increase in cases. Administrators at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami said they saw eight cases of burn victims from the challenge – in the span of just two days.

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