As we continue to see, social networks are taking the world by storm, but not everything TikTok is cute dance videos or funny skits. Parents need to be aware of the darker sides to the social media platform.
Below is a list of the most dangerous social media challenges to go viral in recent years that people should avoid and parents should be aware of. We will continually update this list as new trends emerge.
The milk crate challenge got so popular on TikTok so quickly, the app itself actually issued a statement saying that this is way too dangerous. Basically, the trend was to create a pyramid out of milk crates and try to climb to the top. This resulted in people tumbling to the ground, potentially injuring themselves.
The Benadryl challenge encouraged TikTok users to take excessive amounts of the medication to try to experience a high that could cause hallucinations. The Food and Drug Administration asked TikTok to remove the videos, warning that taking too much of the medication can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death.
In March last year, a so-called coronavirus challenge was circulating on social media and encouraged people to lick items in public. At the time, the #coronaviruschallenge hashtag had almost 100 million views on TikTok, and nearly a year later, the hashtag has 3.1 billion views.
The eye challenge encouraged TikTok users to put a Ziploc bag of jelly, hand sanitizer, bleach, and shaving cream, near their eye, claiming that it would change its color.
The silhouette challenge sees women begin the video in casual clothes before a quick transition shows them in either lingerie or nude. The challenge sees them stand in a doorway, backlit by only a red light so that only their silhouette is visible.
However, the Silhouette Challenge posed problems for participants when some people figured out how to edit the TikTok videos to reveal the women’s bodies. Some of the edited clips were posted online without the women’s consent.
The blackout Challenge did not originate on TikTok, but was circulating on the app last year. It involves restricting your own breathing in an attempt to experience a high, but can be extremely dangerous and resulted in the death of a 10-year-old girl in Italy.
The scalp popping trend challenged users to twist a piece of hair on the crown of someone’s head around their fingers and pull upwards, producing a “popping” effect on their scalp. TikTok users reported feeling pain or even losing patches of hair when they tried the challenge, and doctors warned against taking part in the trend.
Full face wax
Skin experts warned TikTok users against trying a dangerous skincare trend after videos of full-face waxes began amassing millions of views. The technique sees waxers pouring wax all over the customers’ faces, including over the noses and ears.
Burning pile challenge
The burning pile challenge sees TikTok users begin the video dressed casually before a quick transition sees them suddenly dressed up, holding a lighter in front of their faces. However, when TikTok star Madi Monroe tried the trend, her hair caught on fire.
Hyaluronic acid injections
Videos of people injecting hyaluronic acid into their skin have appeared on TikTok, prompting a warning from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association. Experts warned TikTok users from trying the procedure that should be administered by a professional.
Sugar waxing, which involves creating a homemade mix of sugar, lemon, and hot water, which is then applied directly onto the skin for waxing, has been around for centuries. However, when the waxing technique began gaining traction on TikTok, experts had to warn that it could cause burns, infections, and scarring if done incorrectly.
Around Halloween last year, a vampire fang trend was circulating on TikTok. It involved users gluing vampire fangs to their teeth real using nail glue or even superglue. A dentist warned TikTok users from trying the trend as it could damage their enamel and cause ulcers.
TikTok users worried dentists when they posted videos of themselves filing their teeth using a nail file. Dentists and dental students on the app made their own videos explaining why the technique is so dangerous—they could irreparably destroy their enamel—and urged TikTok users to visit their dentists rather than try to file their own teeth.
Stand up challenge
The Stand up challenge involves someone standing on their partner’s back as they lay flat on the ground, and the challenge is for the person lying down to slowly stand up while the person on their back eventually makes it up to their shoulders.
A trainer warned that people who are not specially trained professional athletes or gymnasts should not attempt the challenge, advising that they could end up with a broken neck.
The incredibly dangerous penny challenge involved TikTok users plugging a charger into a socket only partly, before dropping a penny in the gap. Once the penny hits the charger, it can cause an electric spark or even an electrical fire.
TikTok users were claiming that using a jaw exerciser gave them a chiseled jawline, but experts warned that the device could end up damaging their teeth and jaw.
The nutmeg challenge involved TikTok users mixing tablespoons of nutmeg with milk or water, and drinking in the hopes of achieving a high. Large amounts of nutmegs can be intoxicating, but can also cause dangerous side effects like hypothermia, hallucinations, coma, and death.
Skull breaker challenge
The skull breaker challenge was circulating on TikTok last year and was popular with children. It involved two people kicking the legs of a third person as they jumped, causing them to fall over, and resulted in numerous injuries.
Throw it in the air challenge
The throw it in the air challenge involved a group of friends standing in a circle looking down at a cellphone on the ground. Someone would throw an object into the air and the challenge is to not flinch as you watch it fall on your head.
Cha Cha Slide challenge
The Cha Cha Slide challenge takes DJ Casper’s song with lyrics like “slide to the left, slide to the right,” but unlike most TikTok trends, this one did not involve dancing. Some users were driving their car to the song and following instructions like “criss-cross,” dangerously swerving on the road.
Corn cob challenge
The corn cob challenge encouraged participants to attempt to eat a corn cob placed on a drill. Singer Jason Derulo appeared to chip his teeth in his attempt.
Basketball beer challenge
The basketball beer challenge sees TikTok users hold a beer bottle or can on top of a basketball, before dropping it and attempting to catch the drink, which they then chug in celebration. However, some failed attempts see the bottles and cans bouncing into faces and crotches.