Vandalized bathrooms, broken floor tiles and stolen security signs — no, this scene of destruction is not associated with riots.
These events are part of a TikTok challenge known as “Devious Lick” that has garnered 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 during their hours often make questionable decisions.
“Adolescence is always going to gravitate toward something that’s a little risky and risky,” said Pamela Rutledge, PhD, a media psychologist based in Newport Beach, California.
Even so, experts are warning parents about some of the platform’s scariest scenarios – and say they need to monitor what their children and teens are accessing today.
In addition to “Devious Licks,” here are six other examples of challenges that have appeared on the platform lately.
A so-called “borg” usually consists of a mixture of alcohol, electrolytes, caffeinated flavoring and water in a one-gallon jug.
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The purpose of the drink, apparently? Staying hydrated while drinking copious amounts slows down the inebriation process and keeps the dreaded hangover at bay.
The dangerous trend, however, seems to be backfiring — as it has led to nearly 30 University of Massachusetts Amherst students being hospitalized for drinking too much.
UMass police also recently reported two arrests for underage drinking.
Versions of this challenge have been around for years, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributing 82 deaths to the choking game from 1995 to 2008.
Also known as “choking” or “fainting”, this fad encouraged children to suffocate to the point of temporary unconsciousness.
The blackout challenge has been linked to the deaths of around 20 minors in recent months.
“Tweens and teenagers are more susceptible to social pressures, which makes it more difficult to assess the risk” of such life-threatening challenges, Dr. Rutledge of California told Fox News Digital.
Challenges encouraging the consumption of over-the-counter drugs are often circulated on TikTok.
This particular trend requires excessive consumption of Benadryl to induce a hallucinogenic high. Benadryl is an antihistamine commonly used for cold and allergy symptoms.
However, if abused, the drug can cause seizures, heart problems, coma and even death.
Although this trend seemingly resurfaced, it started making the rounds on TikTok in 2020.
At least one teenager died from the challenge, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release a 2020 report on the challenge and subsequent hospitalizations.
“Dragon’s breath” challenge.
This challenge encouraged the consumption of candy covered in liquid nitrogen – a snack made popular on TikTok due to the vapor fumes it emits when eaten.
More than 20 children were hospitalized for skin burns, stomach aches and food poisoning.
Although liquid nitrogen is not inherently dangerous when used in food, it can be dangerous if ingested improperly.
In January, Indonesia issued a warning against the trend after more than 20 children were hospitalized with skin burns, stomach pains and food poisoning.
Orbeez shooting challenge
The trend is causing concern after several teenagers in the United States have been arrested as a result.
The challenge encourages the use of toy guns to launch gel pellets at attendees. Although soft, pellets can cause injury, especially when frozen.
A TikTok video shows red veins forming after a boy is shot with the pellets. Another demonstrated the power of the pellets as the pellets easily pierced a paper towel.
The Orbeez challenge may have lost some traction right now, 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 “blowing 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 on your lids before heading out for the night.
TikTok users believe that menthol or peppermint balm enhances alertness or increases a person’s buzz.
But following the challenge blindly could have dangerous side effects, including eye inflammation, irritation, milia and even vision loss.
The fad a few years ago led Burt’s Bees to issue a statement: “There are many natural things that probably shouldn’t go into the eyes—dirt, twigs, leaves, food—and our lip balm.”
What attracts TikTok users to dangerous challenges?
What draws TikTok’s 50 million daily US users to such challenges?
The app recently announced that it is introducing a screen time limit of one hour per day for users under the age of 18.
“The social media space is very crowded, so to get noticed you have to go to extremes and take risks,” said digital wellness expert Joanne Orlando, PhD, based in Sydney, Australia.
“One of the best ways [for people] Getting noticed on TikTok means jumping on the bandwagon,” he added.
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Said Dr. Rutledge, “Challenges are a dare. Dares trigger our innate needs to fit in and be accepted, to look good—a badge of honor—not as cowards.”
As calls to ban TikTok grow in Congress amid privacy concerns, the app recently announced that it is enforcing a screen time limit of one hour per day for users under 18.
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However, many experts worry that such controls will not be effective.
“Banning is like holding beach balls underwater,” Dr Rutledge said. “You can ban one platform, but another platform will always appear.”