Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

TikTok Challenges are Getting Way Out of Hand

I’m all for pranks and wholesome fun. But since the school year began, the pranks have become illegal and the fun has become dangerous. I’m on TikTok and follow people of all ages. I enjoyed watching their videos and laughing at their antics. However, I don’t follow people who are into hurting themselves or endangering others. Unfortunately, many young people, especially those in middle and high school, are ardent followers and listen to the creators they follow with an almost religious-like zeal.

Thus, TikTok challenges were born. I don’t know when the first challenge was started and by whom, but since its inception, challenges have been posted like football scores. One that was really popular was the Crate Challenge. That involved people stacking milk crates like stairs. If you were able to walk up and down the stairs without falling or knocking over the crates you gained tremendous clout. I watched a video over the summer of a young woman doing the challenge in three-inch heels. She was successful.

Since the school year began, an insidious challenge began on the platform. September was deemed the “Destroy or Steal from Your School” challenge. Across the country, students were breaking windows, stealing soap dispensers, and damaging bathroom stall doors. Locally, in my city, the number of thefts and damage went up like crazy. In my school alone, teachers were robbed of projectors, air purifiers, and laptops. Bathrooms were trashed with water all over the floor, feces smeared on the walls, and soap dispensers stolen or damaged. The situation led to security admin being posted outside bathrooms. The principal announced that technology personnel would soon install security cameras around the building. When that happens, it’s my hope the students cease their shenanigans.

Unfortunately, the challenges continue. Apparently, each month this fall there’s a new challenge. For October, it’s the “Slap a Teacher” challenge. Again, teachers around the country are on high alert. There was an incident at a school in the midwest. A sixty-four-year-old teacher was slapped by an 18-year-old female student. The woman had to be hospitalized. The student was arrested.

In Braintree, at their middle school, a teacher was assaulted by a student. That is too close for comfort for me! My friends have been texting me about the challenge. I informed them that I refuse to be a student’s punching bag. If a student places their hands on me, it will be all over for that person. I have too much rage and pain in me to let some kid attack me for clout.

And that’s what it’s really all about — clout. Students record the attacks and posted all over social media. They’re showing people that they’re cool and want to obtain more followers. It’s a sick way to gain popularity. So far, a teacher hasn’t been assaulted at my school. But the month isn’t halfway over yet. Halloween is a couple of weeks away. Anything can happen between now and then. I will be keeping one eye on my classroom and the other on any students who enter my classroom. Our students must use some common sense.

TikTok needs to ban anyone who posts a dangerous challenge. People are getting hurt. TikTok faces liability issues. If they allow these challenges to be posted and someone gets injured, they could be sued. TikTok could lose millions. Maybe that will be their challenge.

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Shirley Jones Luke

Shirley Jones Luke

Shirley is a poet and writer. Ms. Luke enjoys reading, fashion and travel. She is working on a manuscript of her poems and an essay collection.