The Twilight Series: It’s the rage among teens. It’s a love story with hip, modern-day vampires. Love the books, love the movies, but do NOT love the Twilight trend that is emerging among teen friends and couples: biting.
Teens caught up in the Twilight rage are “leaving their marks” on each other as a sign of closeness. What does this mean? It means that they are biting each other. As parents, we thought we had left that nightmare long behind us in the toddler years! It’s returned, and the implications are even more serious.
First there are the socio-psycho implications. Teen biting is a form of branding, and a form of ownership. Some teens believe it shows commitment to a significant other, or group of friends. One teen noted biting was an “add-on to kissing,” comparing it to putting a case on his iPhone.
It seemed we had all but eliminated the idea of “blood brothers and blood sisters,” and now we have teens that cut each other’s skin to taste each other’s blood.
This is extremely dangerous and can cause serious infections. The human mouth is filled with bacteria, and a bite that draws blood can have serious implications. If biting has occurred, we need to look for signs of more serious bites, including: swelling, redness, pain, and pus at the site. All bites need to be carefully cleaned, and may require treatment with oral or IV antibiotics.
There is a vaccine for hepatitis B, so please be sure your teen is vaccinated. There are no vaccines for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C. These diseases do not discriminate, and if your biting, vampire-loving teen chooses to engage in such activities, she may end up with an infectious disease that at best remains with her for the rest of her life, and at worst, takes her life.
You can find evidence of this craze on teen-made YouTube videos and Facebook pages. Some teens say they have been biting their partners for over a year.
We all need to be talking to our teens about the health risks involved in this practice. They need to hear our opinion on this; it will make a difference when it comes time for them to choose to participate in this risky behavior—or not.