7 dangerous TikTok challenges for kids that parents need to know: ‘Extreme and risky’
Vandalized bathrooms, shattered floor tiles and stolen security signage – no, this destructive scene is not related to a riot.
These events are part of a TikTok challenge known as “Devious Lick” which has attracted hundreds of thousands of views online.
Ever since the Chinese-made app exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been known for its challenges going viral — and it’s no stranger to dangerous trends.
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Experts recognize that young people in their formative years often make questionable decisions.
“Adolescence will always be drawn to something that’s a bit dangerous and risky,” said Pamela Rutledge, PhD, a media psychologist based in Newport Beach, Calif.
Even so, experts are warning parents of some of the platform’s most egregious storylines – and say they need to keep tabs on what their kids and teens are accessing today.
Along with “Devious Licks,” here are six other examples of challenges that have popped up on the platform lately.
The so-called “borg” usually consists of a mixture of alcohol, electrolytes, caffeinated flavorings and water in a gallon jug.
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The purpose of the drink, apparently? To stay hydrated while drinking large amounts, slow down the intoxication process and avoid the dreaded hangover.
The dangerous trend, however, appears to be having the opposite effect – as it has led to nearly 30 University of Massachusetts Amherst students being hospitalized due to excessive drinking.
UMass police also recently reported two arrests for underage drinking.
Versions of this challenge have existed for years, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributing 82 deaths to choking play from 1995 to 2008.
Also known as a “choking challenge” or “passing out challenge”, this fashion encouraged children to asphyxiate to temporary unconsciousness.
The blackout challenge has been linked to the deaths of around 20 miners in recent months.
“Tweens and teens are more susceptible to social pressures, which makes it more difficult to assess risk,” in such life-threatening challenges, Dr. Rutledge from California told Fox News Digital.
Challenges encouraging the consumption of over-the-counter drugs frequently circulate on TikTok.
This particular tendency calls for the excessive consumption of Benadryl to induce a hallucinogenic high. Benadryl is an antihistamine typically used for cold and allergy symptoms.
However, if abused, the drug can cause seizures, heart problems, comas, and even death.
Although this trend has seemingly resurfaced, it has started making its rounds on TikTok in 2020.
At least one teenager has died from the challenge, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release a 2020 report on the challenge and resulting hospitalizations.
“Dragon’s Breath” Challenge
This challenge encouraged the consumption of candies coated in liquid nitrogen – a snack that has become popular on TikTok due to the vapors it emits when consumed.
More than 20 children were hospitalized with skin burns, stomach aches and food poisoning.
Although liquid nitrogen is not inherently dangerous when used in food, it can be dangerous if improperly ingested.
In January, Indonesia issued a warning against the trend after more than 20 children were hospitalized with skin burns, stomach aches and food poisoning.
Orbeez Shooting Challenge
The trend is concerning after several teenagers across the United States were arrested as a result.
The challenge encourages the use of toy guns to fire gel pellets at passers-by. Although soft, pellets can cause injury, especially when frozen.
A video from TikTok shows red welts forming after a boy was shot with the pellets. Another demonstrated the strength of the pellets as the pellets easily pierced a paper towel.
The Orbeez Challenge may have lost some traction currently, but another destructive trend has emerged in its place called “The Kool-Aid Man”.
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In February, six minors were arrested after they “blew up” a fence as part of the challenge, which encourages running through walls and fences.
“Beezin'” is the act of rubbing Burt’s Bees lip balm onto the eyelids before going out for the night.
TikTok users believe that menthol or peppermint balm improves alertness or increases buzz.
But following the challenge blindly could have dangerous side effects, such as eye inflammation, irritation, milia, and even vision loss.
The fashion of a few years ago led Burt’s Bees to issue a statement: “There are many natural things that probably shouldn’t get in the eyes – dirt, twigs, leaves, food – and our lip balm.”
What attracts TikTok users to risky challenges?
What attracts the 50 million daily users of TikTok in the United States to such challenges?
The app recently announced that it is rolling out a screen time limit of one hour per day for users under 18.
“The social media space is very crowded, so to get noticed, you have to go to extremes and take risks,” said Joanne Orlando, PhD, digital wellbeing expert, based in Sydney, Australia. .
“One of the best ways [for people] Getting noticed on TikTok is trending,” she added.
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Dr Rutledge said: “Challenges are a challenge. Challenges trigger our innate needs to fit in and be accepted, to show up well – a badge of honor – not like cowards.”
As calls to ban TikTok mount in Congress over privacy concerns, the app recently announced it is rolling out a one-hour daily screen time limit for users under the age of 12. 18 years old.
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However, many experts worry that these controls will not be effective.
“Bans are like holding beach balls underwater,” Dr Rutledge said. “You can ban a platform, but another platform will always appear.”