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Eating TIDE pods, licking unbought ice cream for unsuspecting shoppers, or high schoolers destroying school bathrooms. All of these have become extremely popular trends on Tiktok and other social media outlets, yet these can prove to be incredibly dangerous and even cause death, and for what? To go viral and have millions of people see you at a simple swipe of a finger.

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Tiktok is a media source phenomena to put it lightly. When it was released back in 2016, within a few months the app had over 100 million active users, all watching videos that were a minute or less. This is unprecedented, and the following years have seen this app explode in popularity.

In January of 2023, for example, it had a staggering 104 Million App Downloads. That’s more than 3.3 Million downloads a day. Teens and adults alike can post videos in a matter of minutes for all the world to see, all with the hopes of going viral.

How TikTok Works

Tiktok works by having the user watch videos. The more that you watch a video the more the creator makes while Tiktok generates avenues through ads and selling your data (but that’s another topic for another time.) When someone creates a video, Tiktok releases the video to a small audience to see if the video gets a number of hits, or reactions. Once it meets the requirements, the algorithm then releases it to a bigger audience and so on until a viral effect is reached.

And anyone 13 or over can create videos to be uploaded on Tiktok, giving them hope to one day go viral and be popular among the community. These trends can be a dance, some kind of physical challenge, or mouthing the words to movie lines. With that, there have been some dangerous trends that have reached a viral effect and encouraged others to participate in the hopes that they will go viral as well.

Recent and Past Viral Trends

Below are some of the viral Tiktok trends in the past few years.

The Benadryl Challenge

The Benadryl Challenge saw teens and adults trying to take an excessive amount of benadryl in order to cause themselves to hallucinate. Unfortunately, it caused multiple hospital cases and even the death of a 15 year old girl.

“Benadryl in large doses can cause seizures and cardiac arrests. If young people are being encouraged to take it in large doses on TikTok, this is very dangerous.” David Juurlink, MD, of University of Toronto in Canada said.

The Penny Challenge

The Penny Challenge had teens partially unplug a charge port for an iphone and then stick a penny between the two prongs. This would then create a huge spark that would leave a scourge mark around the outlet and wall. Sometimes doing so would cause house fires, but nearly every time, at the very least, it caused damages.

The Sleeping Chicken Challenge

The Sleeping Chicken Challenge was where a man uploaded himself cooking his chicken with an entire bottle of Nyquil. The heat would dissolve most of the liquid, giving you a very concentrated amount of Nyquil to ingest. The man was then shown eating the chicken he had prepared and the trend shot to millions of views in a matter of hours.

Blackout Challenge

The most recent trend was the “Blackout Challenge” where teens filmed themselves holding their breath or having another squeeze their neck until they lost consciousness. This dangerous trend resulted in multiple deaths including a 10-year-old girl who died in the US December of 2022 after reportedly attempting the challenge.

TikTok Doesn’t Care About Kid’s Safety

Each of these trends happened within the last two years, and the scariest part is that Tiktok did nothing to take down or stop the videos. Once the videos get a certain number of hits, Tiktok will, in fact, send the video out to more people to get more views and generate more revenue for them. The more views these videos get, the more money Tiktok makes. They, in no way, care about the safety of your kids.

There was another video that went viral where a New Jersey teenage girl was getting beat up by her peers outside of her classroom. The bullies then posted the video on Tiktok and ended up getting millions of views in a day. The bullied teen saw how many had seen it, and after the bullies continued to harass her over her phone, she ended up committing suicide. She was only 14 years old.

Social Media Has a Dangerous Side

Social Media does little to protect minors in the world today. As long as they can make an easy dollar, they will allow nearly anything to be posted. With that, Tiktok also has a flood of “soft” pornography that creators post to lead you to their Only Fans accounts. By clicking a link, you can see their Instagram, Twitter, and Only Fans, giving your teen easy access to pornography. Twitter also allows fully nude photos to be posted, and is used as a way to convince viewers to purchase their Only Fans subscription.

Tiktok is a gateway to a world of information and fun, but it can come at a great cost. You will have zero control over what your teen watches and views as anything can come up as a recommended video. Be mindful of the trends, and if you decide for your teen to have a Tiktok, be sure to have rules and guidelines while they are online. To have them participate in these trends can not only cause permanent harm to their bodies, but may also result in death.