TikTok is known for its daring and dangerous challenges that go viral across various social media platforms, often sending parents into panic mode. Picture: Reuters
TikTok is known for its daring and dangerous challenges that go viral across various social media platforms, often sending parents into panic mode. Picture: Reuters

If you thought the Milk Crate Challenge was crazy, check out TikTok’s most dangerous and viral trends

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Sep 10, 2021

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TikTok is known for its daring and dangerous challenges that go viral across various social media platforms, often sending parents into panic mode.

From silly to downright scary, this compilation of the most dangerous and viral TikTok challenges shows just how impressionable app users can be when it comes to taking part in the latest trends.

Skull breaker challenge

A video has gone viral showing one person jumping and being tripped by two others on either side. As a result, the "voluntary" victim collapses to the ground. The challenge first appeared on TikTok and appears to be a hit with schoolchildren. Like with most viral challenges, the aim is to come across as funny but this is anything but that. Multiple sources claim that at least three of the unsuspecting victims, possibly more, wound up in hospital for their injuries.

Lip glue challenge

Back in 2015, the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, which featured teens intentionally swelling up their lips, using the suction from shot glass and bottle caps, went viral. It ultimately sending the media into a frenzy and a few people to the hospital. The lip glue challenge entails adding adhesive to the area just above the lips, flipping the top lip upwards and holding it in place until it remains there. While the results are impressive, dermatologists were outraged as the main ingredient in glue is cyanoacrylate, which is designed to adhere to metals and paper rather than the soft skin of the face. Furthermore, the substance can irritate the skin as well as trigger real allergic reactions, resulting in redness, swelling, blistering, infection. Rather stick to lip-plumping glosses.

Picture: YouTube.com

Milk crate challenge

The now banned challenge involves TikTok users building milk crates into a pyramid and then attempting to climb up and then down the shaky structure. Most videos depict people crashing to the ground after the makeshift structure collapses under their weight. Doctors across the globe have warned of the dangers, which some say could be serious due to increased likelihood of injury from the angular edges of the crates without being able to brace for the fall from such a position. Although most videos of the challenge have been taken down, they can be found elsewhere on the web.

Cereal challenge

Cereal and milk – a breakfast staple across the globe – was used in one of the most bizarre TikTok challenges to date. The videos feature teens pouring milk and cereal flakes into the mouth of a friend while they lay down. That part alone is worrisome as it could easily lead to choking, but what follows next is just as disturbing. With a spoon, the person who did the pouring dips it into their friend’s gaping mouth and proceeds to take a large bite full of the cereal and milk, now mixed with saliva (and germs). Gross, but extremely viral-worth due to shock factor alone.

Teeth filing trend

From brushing to flossing and bleaching for added sparkle, as one of the first things people notice about one another, it makes sense that beautiful smiles are coveted characteristics people strive for. Crooked and uneven teeth can be shaped with filing, contouring, sanding and sculpting in a procedure known as an enameloplasty. This is done to enhance the appearance of one’s smile and is, in most instances, purely for aesthetics. However, this should only be done by a trained professional, unlike in the viral teeth-filing trend.

The abbraisions can lead to sensitive teeth, pain and the need for root canals and veneers. Picture: YouTube.com

Featuring people using nail files to smooth down the edges of their teeth, online dentists who came across the videos were appalled and concerned about the irreversible damage being caused. The abrasions can lead to sensitive teeth, pain and the need for root canals and veneers.

Dry scoop challenge

Swallowing a mouthful of pre-workout powder and chasing it with water, as opposed to blended and diluted with a liquid as directed on the packaging, is called dry-scooping. The seemingly unappealing technique falls under a long list of wellness trends that surfaced on TikTok in the past two years. The aim is to achieve a bigger energy boost, so that people can then work out harder, faster and longer. However, experts say that there is no scientific evidence that dry scooping is beneficial. The video challenges themselves are also cause for concern as all moisture in the mouth is rapidly absorbed, making it very difficult to swallow all at once. Ultimately, the trend can cause choking and may not even help. Stick to smoothies and tried and tested methods for getting fit.

Coronavirus challenge

TikTok user @avalouise shared a video of herself licking a toilet seat on an aeroplane in March 2020. The six-second clip was a crass attempt at garnering social media attention by feeding off the coronavirus hysteria that was at an all-time high at the start of worldwide lockdowns. This is made clear by the words “coronavirus challenge” which are plastered over the video in all capital letters. With the seriousness of the virus, many people found the video to be a very poor attempt at humour and condemned the action.

TikTok user @avalouise, shared a video of herself licking a toilet seat on an aeroplane in March 2020. Picture: YouTube.com

Mole removals

Pimple popping videos have captured the fascination of people online and on television for some time and the curious fascination has yet to lose momentum. Unfortunately, it has also spurred the unsafe extraction of pimples, blackheads, boils and more. With more than 12 million views, the hashtag #moleremoval has medical experts in a tizz, calling the trend irresponsible and unsafe. Complications of “at-home” mole removals include pain, bleeding, infection, scarring and disfigurement. Worse than that, if the mode is removed before being checked out by a doctor, it will no longer be possible for them to know whether the growth was cancerous.

Benadryl challenge

The scary trend picked up in 2020 and saw app users purposefully consuming large doses of the antihistamine to induce hallucinations. According to experts, taking too much Benadryl can cause major health problems. Sleepiness, dry mouth, constipation, and inability to pass urine are common side effects in moderate cases. But, you may also experience delirium, psychosis, convulsions or coma in severe circumstances which can rapidly lead to death. The producer of Benadryl, Johnson & Johnson, issued a warning regarding the challenge, and TikTok executives stated that posts promoting the challenge would be removed from the site.

The best way to keep teens from engaging in dangerous challenges is to monitor their social media use and be in the loop when challenges such as these arise. It is important to be able to intervene before your child steps into harm’s way.

Fortunately, TikTok continues to update the app with new safety features which enable parents to control the content their children consume on the platform.

As the app boomed in popularity and growth last year, TikTok’s head of trust and safety in Europe, Cormac Keenan said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to providing users with features and resources to have the best experience on TikTok, we are announcing family safety mode, a new feature to help parents and guardians keep their teens safe on TikTok.

“We will keep introducing ways to keep our community safe so they can stay focused on what matters to them – creating, sharing, and enjoying the creativity of TikTok’s community.”

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