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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) —  A Washington teen remains hospitalized after suffering serious injuries in a “duct tape challenge” gone bad, and parents are again left wondering how to combat the bad ideas offered up by the Internet.

The issue is complicated by the fact that a teen’s brain hasn’t fully formed yet.

“First of all, teenagers have an incomplete brain circuit system,” said Dr. Roger Rinn, a Huntsville psychologist. “And it takes ‘til you’re about 25 for your brain to really reach maturity.”

Teens are also wired to want be around other teens.

“Affiliation is their primary motive. Other things like power and achievement come a little bit later, but teenagers are into affiliation, being buddies, having friends, looking brave,” Rinn said.

That combination of limited appreciation for risk and wanting to impress their friends creates a tricky mix. Teenagers thinking up dumb things to do, isn’t a new problem, it has been going on forever, Rinn said.

“My father’s era, he told me that a lot of kids ate live goldfish, which was nuts, but they did it. In the ’50s when I grew up in Montana, kids would take their fist and hit a telephone pole to see who could hit the hardest,” he said.  “When I moved to New Mexico, they took straight pins and put ‘em in their thighs. To see if you could do it.”

The Internet makes it much more complicated – new bad ideas are coming out all the time.

But the same desire for risk and adventure can be the key to avoiding potentially tragic errors.

Activities that are challenging and controlled, from camping and rock-climbing to karate and kayaking, are essential to building adventure into the daily lives of kids, so they don’t need to look for foolish risks, Rinn said.

“I think that men and women at ages 12 to 15, need to be impelled into adventure,” he said. “I think they need to get into the woods, they need to do things, but I think they need to do it safely and under supervision.”

Lectures about avoiding bad behavior are also not the most effective way to communicate about the issue. Parents chatting around the dinner table about the wisdom of a kid getting wrapped in duct tape will be more effective than a lecture, Rinn said. With that approach, kids will take in the message without feeling like it’s directed at them.

“So I think you’ve got to talk to your kids, have fun with your kids, and make sure they have adventure in their daily life, so they don’t need this,” Rinn said.

One of the YouTube videos on the duct tape challenge has more than 3 million views; another has more than 800,000.