TikTok alert: dangerous challenges continue to captivate youngsters

The Chinese social network claims to restrict this type of content, but it is still very popular among minors.

Alarm bells are ringing again at TikTok due to the rising number of dangerous challenges that are going viral among young people. This week, a 13-year-old boy died in Ohio after ingesting a fatal dose of benadryl. The minor remained in the hospital for six days before passing away. He was admitted to  hospital without brain activity due to the severe damage caused by the high levels of antihistamine in his system.

Jacob Stevens ingested up to six times the recommended dose of benadryl while his friends recorded him with their cell phones in order to upload the video to TikTok. They were trying to reach a state of hallucination by ingesting the benadryl and planned to later share the experience on the social network, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. This is a challenge that was popularized by TikTok in 2020. In that year, a 15-year-old Oklahoma girl died under similar circumstances  to those of Jacob Stevens. In the aftermath, authorities issued warnings about this dangerous trend.

TikTok is not responsible for

After the death of Jacob Stevens, ByteDance issued a statement promising tighter control over all dangerous content. However, the social network already has a long history of particularly dangerous viral challenges. As Voice Media was able to verify, the hashtag #Challenge continues to be one of the most popular on the App. These are some of the most well-known challenges:

  • Bottle game: this challenge consists of hitting the 'player' with bottles, who is blindfolded and must find out who has given him the last blow.
  • Spicy food challenge: it consists of mixing several spicy products, the more the better, and eating them. Highly dangerous for the any individual. Some believe it is best to eat raw California Reaper peppers, the hottest peppers in the world. The consequences can be serious.
  • Choking challenge: encourages youngsters to hold their breath for as long as possible, resulting in fainting. Lack of oxygen to the brain can cause severe and irreversible damage. In 2022, a young Argentinean woman died after performing this challenge.
  • Cinnamon challenge: eat a spoonful of cinnamon powder, without water, which due to its properties sticks to the respiratory tract, causing asphyxiation.
  • Tide Pods: in 2017, the comparison of these laundry or dish detergent capsules to appetizing snacks became a meme. As a result, people began to consume them in videos that made the rounds of social networks. Ingesting detergent is hazardous to health and has already landed several people in the hospital.
  • Dragon's Breath: an inappropriate use of liquid nitrogen, the component that creates the well-known dry ice. The challenge consists of freezing food with liquid nitrogen and eating it. However, handling liquid nitrogen without proper knowledge can be risky.
  • Kia Challenge: the challenge consists of stealing a Kia car, which due to production cuts often include poor anti-theft systems. In addition to being a crime, it is also very dangerous because of the reactions it can unleash. Even more so if the person stealing the vehicle does not know how to drive. In Buffalo, New York, four young men died after stealing a Kia for a TikTok video.