Parents are being urged to make sure their children are not putting themselves at risk by following dangerous trends on social media.
Phone experts at SellCell have revealed some of the most concerning social media challenges and are encouraging parents to keep tabs on what their children are accessing on their phones.
This comes after research unveiled 42 per cent of children spend over four hours per day on their phones*, making them susceptible to inappropriate and unsafe content.
Although TikTok was designed to be a platform where users can share and watch entertaining short videos, the rise of challenges means young users may be encouraged to take part in dangerous tasks.
Although 88 per cent of parents monitor their kids’ phone use and know their passwords*, with the excessive amount of videos on the platform, it’s tricky to keep track of what the kids are exposed to.
How Can TikTok Influence Kids?
TikTok has seen multiple dangerous trends resulting in tragedy, raising concerns for children’s safety on the app and highlighting the need for parental supervision.
Trends such as the blackout, chroming and Cha Cha Slide challenge have already claimed the lives of young children who were trying to get noticed on the platform by jumping on board with the extreme trends.
With kids getting their hands on phones earlier now, some even at the early ages of one to two*, they haven’t fully developed critical thinking skills to accurately assess the potential risks of participating in dangerous fads.
Parents are encouraged to monitor their child’s online presence, educate kids about the potential dangers on social media and use safety features, such as restricted mode to reduce mature content or family safety mode to pair the children’s accounts with theirs.
What Can Parents Do To Monitor Dangerous Trends on TikTok ?
Sarah McConomy, COO of SellCell said: “The pressure to fit in and be popular on social media can cloud young people’s judgement, making them ignore the possible consequences of harmful trends on TikTok”.
“With kids spending more time on their phones than ever, their exposure to inappropriate content naturally increases. TikTok operates on an algorithm, pushing videos in front of kids without them searching for them, so it’s possible that the kids will stumble upon content that is explicit, dangerous, or otherwise unsuitable for their age. Despite efforts to regulate content, not all inappropriate or harmful videos can be filtered out effectively”.
“A combination of guidance, education, and monitoring is crucial to ensure children have a safe online experience.”
What Are The Most Dangerous Tik Tok Trends?
SellCell has compiled a list of some of the most dangerous trends on social media:
- Borg challenge
The Borg or blackout rage gallon challenge involves filling a gallon jug with equal parts water and vodka, along with caffeinated flavour enhancers and electrolyte powders, in an attempt to create a hangover-proof drink. People assume the presence of water and electrolytes in the borg cocktail makes them less dangerous but it’s not true. The large servings make it difficult to moderate drinking, leading people to consume an excessive amount of alcohol.
- Mouth taping during sleep
This trend involves using a piece of tape to keep the mouth shut to only breathe out of the nose while sleeping, claiming to improve sleep quality and prevent snoring. While nose breathing during sleep can have health benefits compared to breathing through your mouth, using tape to close your mouth is not a solution. Participating in this trend has several risks, such as obstructed breathing, irritation from the tape, disrupted sleep and choking hazards. It’s especially dangerous for people who have sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
- Black-out challenge
The blackout challenge is one of the most dangerous trends to hit Tiktok, resulting in several deaths. The participants of the challenge are encouraged to hold their breath or choke themselves with household items until they pass out. Users post videos of the adrenaline rush they get when regaining consciousness, encouraging kids too young to grasp the risk to try the challenge.
The chroming trend revolves around users challenging each other to inhale fumes from toxic sources, such as aerosol cans, spray deodorants, paint containers or nail polish removers. The aim of the challenge is to create a temporary high, however the participants are not aware of the dangerous side effects chroming includes. Participating in this trend can lead to serious health risks such as heart attack, seizures, suffocation, coma, choking, or fatal injury, and may even cause permanent organ damage.
- Fake piercings with magnets
In this trend, people are using small magnetic balls, commonly sold as creative toys, as fake facial and tongue piercings. It can be extremely dangerous if these magnets are accidentally swallowed, as ingesting more than one means that they’ll be forced together, squeezing the intestines and bowels and threatening blood flow.
- Benadryl challenge
This challenge involves taking large doses of Benadryl, an over-the-counter antiallergic drug, to trigger hallucinations. The participants take nearly double the recommended daily dosage of the medication in a short period of time and film their side effects. Consuming an excessive amount of allergy medication could lead to heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death.
- Cha Cha Slide
The Cha Cha Slide challenge sounds like it’s a fun and safe trend, but in reality it’s one of the most dangerous trends making the rounds on TikTok. The trend encourages teens to drive recklessly to the beat of the famous Cha Cha Slide song by DJ Casper. Drivers are swerving their cars left and right before sharply turning in both directions at the “criss cross” part of the lyrics. This can lead to careless drivers veering into oncoming traffic and causing life-threatening accidents.
- The deodorant challenge
This trend sees youngsters spraying deodorant closely onto their bare skin for as long as possible to make it feel ice-cold. Following this trend can leave kids with severe and nasty burns, as the pressurised gas in aerosol cans creates a sharp cooling effect on skin, causing the skin to freeze. Some kids who have taken part in the challenge have been left with injuries that require years to heal and plastic surgery.