A new month, a new worry for school leaders, as students take on social media challenges to disrupt the school day. The problem is the TikTok challenges are often disruptive and illegal.
In September the challenge was called “devious licks” and called for students to steal from campuses or vandalize facilities.
In October, the “slap a teacher” challenge urges students to film and post videos of a student slapping a teacher or staff member.
“It became addictive for kids to want that like, that follow, that approval. There are people starting challenges people want to participate,” said child psychologist Anastasia Taylor.
Taylor says the pranks and challenges feed the desire to fit in, and parents have to ask their children some serious questions. “What would you do if someone you thought was cool did this? What would you do if they challenged you to be in a video? The more we talk about those things proactively, it hopefully doesn’t continue any further,” said Taylor who urges parents to talk to their children about not giving in to peer pressure.
The challenges have gotten so bad school districts across North Texas are sending notes home to parents. Fort Worth, Mansfield and Denton are a few districts that have let families know the consequences will be severe.
Future challenges apparently will include everything from inappropriate touching to stealing eggs. Schools can do nothing more than warn this isn’t fun and games but in many cases criminal activity.
TikTok has responded to the challenge trend by trying to remove content and redirect hashtags associated with the challenges to its community guidelines page.