AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — As children prepare to go back to school, experts are warning about the dangers of social media.

“I was terrified,” said Jennifer Webb. “I was scared on every level possible. Like, I mean, all I seen was the fire.”

Webb, a Lorain County mother, said her 11-year-old daughter was severely burned while trying to recreate a social media challenge. A bottle of rubbing alcohol exploded in her daughter’s face resulting in burns to more than 20 percent of her body.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned in a report earlier this year about social media’s “profound risk of harm to the mental health of children.”

“I can’t say that I was really surprised by it,” said Dr. Michael Redovian, a psychiatrist at Akron Children’s Hospital. “The harms that I oftentimes see related to social media use are primarily related to how kids are using it.”

Redovian said many children with mental health needs don’t receive access to adequate treatment. 

Akron Children’s Hospital recently expanded services, opening a behavioral health facility in Canton in order to better serve Stark County residents.

According to the Surgeon General’s report, up to 95 percent of kids ages 13 to 17 use social media. The report states “extreme and harmful content” continues to be easily and widely accessible by children linked to suicide, self-harm content, and risk-taking challenges.

“We talk about kids who are talking to random individuals online and maybe being encouraged to send illicit photos, things that they normally wouldn’t otherwise send,” said Redovian.

Criminals are targeting children on social media as well, with several local cases of sextortion reported including one that led to the death of a 17-year-old Streetsboro boy.

Parents can help protect children from social media dangers, Redovian said. He suggested considering delaying gifting smartphones, keeping phones out of bedrooms at night, knowing children’s social media account information and most importantly having open and honest conversations about expectations.

“Safety is always going to trump privacy,” he said. “So if there are concerns that a parent has about, let’s say, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, those sorts of things…it’s always ok to look through and see what’s going on.”

Webb said her daughter’s recovery could be lifelong.

“She’s doing a whole lot better today but is she ever going to be fully recovered from this? Probably not. She hardly watches those videos anymore. She’s scared now. She understands the consequences of trying one of these challenges,” she said.