TikTok has become a popular social media juggernaut, particularly with young people and teens. At the same time, troubling reports have emerged recently about the dangerous things kids are doing to get noticed on the platform. Here are some of the most dangerous TikTok trends to watch out for to keep your kids and teens safe — updated for Fall 2021.
Milk Crate Challenge
The trend involves stacking several milk crates into a stair formation and attempting to climb to the top. While the challenge sounds simple enough, the stacked milk crates form a less-than-stable foundation for climbing. The result? Countless videos of hapless climbers tumbling from milk crate towers.
Medical professionals have spoken out against the challenge, citing an obvious risk of grave injury.
“The Milk Crate Challenge is very dangerous, and we are seeing many orthopedic injuries as a result of the falls,” orthopedic surgeon Dr. Shawn Anthony told Today. “Injuries can include broken wrists, shoulder dislocations, ACL and meniscus tears, as well as life-threatening conditions like spinal cord injuries.”
Baby Swing Challenge
This ridiculous TikTok trend has users squeezing themselves into baby-sized playground swings. While the stunt might make for a funny clip, the problem comes when they can’t get out.
In the UK, emergency calls have doubled over the last year — and first responders say this trend is partially to blame.
“This craze is definitely to blame for the increase [in emergency calls],” one UK firefirghter told The Sun. “We have better things to be doing than cutting teenagers out of swings who think it’s a laugh. While we are dealing with them, a house fire could be killing people.”
Dry Scoop Challenge
One of many supposed fitness trends on TikTok, the dry scoop challenge involves taking a scoop of pre-workout powder before exercising. The twist is that, while these powders are meant to be dissolved in water, TikTokers gulping down spoonfuls of the stuff completely dry.
Predictably, many who try the challenge end up nearly choking on the powder, coughing up clouds of protein dust. However, others have experienced much more serious reactions, including TikToker Briatney Portillo.
The 22-year-old exotic dancer tried the challenge to energize her workout — but ended up in the hospital for a heart attack. You can read more about her story and the dangers of this trend here.
Scalp Popping Challenge
Worryingly, many of these dangerous TikTok challenges involve young people doing things to their bodies that may seem harmless, but carry the risk of severe injury. One of these is the scalp popping challenge, where users yank sharply on a lock of their own hair, creating a noticeable “pop” sound.
While some users have performed the challenge with no ill effects, medical experts still warn that the stunt could lead to injury.
“What you’re trying to do is pull tissue layers apart in your scalp,” said pediatrician Dr. Andrew Doyle. “If you pull too hard or the wrong way you risk tearing the tissue, tearing the skin and pulling out a lot of hair.”
Back Cracking Challenge
Next in line is the back cracking challenge, another trend that has TikTokers endangering their bodies. While we can all recognize the therapeutic value of a good back crack, this two-person challenge has some medical professionals seriously concerned.
“That video was hard to watch,” one doctor told Buzzfeed after watching a clip of the challenge. “This ‘adjustment’ can be very detrimental to the spine because it’s not being performed correctly. Doing exercises like this at home can be very dangerous as it can twist or pull someone’s spine out of place.”
Full Face Wax
This bizarre skincare routine came from the mind of Dutch barber Renaz Ismael, who shared videos to his TikTok of customers’ faces being completely covered in wax.
While it’s not hard to tell what makes this an incredibly dangerous idea, experts have still weighed in to discourage users from waxing up their faces.
“Our first concern is that it would cause suffocation,” one beautician told the BBC. “There’s no control element to smothering the face with wax. And wax hardens. So it could harden in the airways and have to be surgically removed.”
Variations of this trend, which is also known as the “choking game,” have been around since long before TikTok. (Time reported that 82 children died playing the game between 1995 and 2007 in the US alone.) It involves cutting off one’s air supply until the point of unconsciousness.
While it’s not clear what the point is, it can produce deadly results. A 10-year-old girl recently died while participating in the TikTok “blackout game” (pictured above), along with a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old boy. The shocking loss prompted data protection watchdogs to call for a ban on the platform for users with unconfirmed ages. TikTok is reportedly working with authorities on the matter.
Sexy “Silhouette Challenge”
The “Silhouette Challenge/Trend” uses a Snapchat filter called “vin rouge” to add a colored tint to users’ videos. From there, all it takes is a little creativity with lighting and flare for striking a sexy pose. It’s been around since at least the summer of 2020, when the online anime community popularized it. However, the trend has blown up in recent weeks, partially thanks to a clip uploaded by Chloe Bailey of the pop group Chloe x Halle.
The danger? Those filters can be removed by clever users, exposing whatever you’re wearing — or not wearing.
“Just make sure you’re being cognizant of what you’re wearing,” warned TikTok user and photographer @lostvsnryshots. “Anyone can easily take those images and revert them back to the original. So if you’re wearing a bra and panties, or you’re nude, or whatever you did before you applied the editing to get that shadow look, just know that it’s really easy to put it back to the original.”
Gorilla Glue Trend
This is less of a challenge or something that people are flocking to try, and more of a cautionary tale.
Tessica Brown ran out of her Got2b Glued hair spray and decided to improvise using the super-strong adhesive Gorilla Glue. She ended up needing medical professionals to help her remove it safely, and the whole incident was chronicaled on TikTok.
Enter Len Martin, who told Fox 8 news, “I thought she was just playing around, I didn’t think it was that serious, that Gorilla Glue would really do all that, you know?” He ended up using Gorilla Glue to stick a plastic solo cup to his lip and up in the emergency room to have it removed.
The lesson? There’s a price to finding viral fame. Oh, and don’t use Gorilla Glue for anything other than its intended purpose.
See how kids are overdosing on these TikTok trends…