Center for Injury Research and Prevention

TikTok Challenges: The Latest Dangerous Trend

March 10, 2020

Since our last dangerous trend blog post, TikTok, a short-form video platform, has become the most popular non-gaming iOS app, as well as a more influential social media conduit through which dangerous trends have spread. Just in the past couple of weeks, several challenges have raised alarm among the medical and educational community, including:

  • The 'Penny' Challenge, which involves individuals placing a penny onto the exposed prongs of a cell phone charger that is partially plugged into an outlet. Since this challenge causes the potential for electrical sparks and is a fire hazard, it promoted the Massachusetts Department of Fire Safety to issue a warning.
  • The 'Cha-Cha Slide' Challenge, which encourages drivers to swerve along the road in time with music. With videos garnering more than 2.8 million views, TikTok recently took down videos of users filming the challenge. However, videos are now spreading on YouTube.
  • The 'Skull Breaker' Challenge, in which three people stand next to each other and agree to jump in the air together, but then two of the individuals on the side stay on the ground and kick the victim's legs out, causing a potentially dangerous fall to the ground. This stunt has landed several teens in the hospital with injuries as severe as a concussion. Next week, my colleagues Daniel Corwin, MD and Mark Zonfrillo, MD will further discuss the injuries observed from this dangerous stunt.

For more discussion on why these social media challenges are so attractive to teens, click here