While many viral internet trends encourage creativity, togetherness, and good humor, the latest to go viral on TikTok is causing serious harm to teachers, students, and property across North America.
You may have tried whipped coffee, sourdough bread, or even tested your hand at learning a viral choreography or two, but the latest trend is far more volatile.
The English Montreal School Board sent an e-mail to parents in the community, warning them of the latest trend which has resulted in vandalism and injury across the West Island. The “Devious Licks” trend challenges TikTok -a popular social media app - users to wreak havoc and cause harm in the most outrageous of ways; the more unbelievable, the better, according to the rules of the challenge.
Children and teens across the country are acting out in the most disturbing of ways; vandalizing school property, assaulting educators and staff, covering toilets and appliances in food coloring and feces, and even exposing themselves to classmates. To make matters worse, these heinous acts are being filmed and uploaded online.
One community member was quick to conclude that an onslaught of complaints about items being stolen off local lawns may have been the result of this challenge.
The hashtag has thankfully been removed from the app, and any videos attached to the hashtag have subsequently been deleted. Nevertheless, as the EMSB points out,
“different and problematic behaviors may occur at various times throughout the year as new challenges crop up.” (SOURCE: EMSB)
Parents of children and teens in the community are encouraged to open a dialogue with their children and keep a mindful eye on their online presence. Don’t shy away from discussing trends like the “Devious Licks” challenge. Emphasize how some trends are beneficial, while others cause harm, and what the repercussions of causing harm can look like.
If you see behavior that you deem to be unsafe, at home or in the community, don’t be afraid to intervene and ask questions. Below are some resources that the EMSB provided to parents and caretakers.