Tik Tok is a fun platform, but somehow users of very trendy apps tend to go to the extreme. Deadly extreme.
The “skull breaker challenge” has soared in popularity in recent months. However, injuries suffered from the viral prank had medical professionals say there’s cause for concern to participants, especially kids and teens. A report shows that at least two children in the U.S. have been hospitalized after trying the internet craze.
Dr. Nathan Richards, a pediatric physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center says, “Although it can seem like a harmless prank to children [and] adolescents, they should be educated on the potential serious consequences of doing the skull breaker challenge.”
Reportedly originated in Spain, involves two people and a third unsuspecting participant. They film themselves jumping into the air; as the middle person is in the midst of jumping, the two others swing their legs inward to knock them off balance, causing them to fall on their head.
The students at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach filmed the moment they intentionally tripped a Black student, who reportedly has special needs, for laughs as part of the viral challenge. The girl is seen struggling to pick herself up from the floor after she’s sent tumbling. Two Florida teens could now face criminal charges for doing the prank.
The girl’s parents have decided to press charges even though administrators said she didn’t suffer any injuries in the incident.
On another incident: “He landed hard flat on his back and head, as he struggled to get up he lost consciousness”
Unfortunately, Arizona mother Valerie Hodson said her son wasn’t so lucky and was left badly hurt after two, who claimed to be friends with the victim, tricked him into participating in the trend.
The incident left the boy with a head injury, cuts inside his mouth and a gash on his face that required stitches.
“He fell forward landing on his face. The school monitor ran to his side, all the while the 2 boys were snickering and laughing as his stiff unconscious body lay on the asphalt.” Says Hodson in a Facebook post she wrote.
Richards, who also specializes in internal medicine, has warned against the challenge, as it can result in severe injuries — and even death.
“It can be associated with a variety of serious and even life-threatening injuries including, but not limited to, bruising, hematoma, skull fracture, neck strain, neck fracture, … and long term complications of concussion, bleeding in [or] around the brain, loss of consciousness, paralysis, and death.” The doctor added.
The “wow factor” is what’s driving students to continue participating in the prank, says Sabrina Sykes, Ph.D., a psychologist with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University, despite being well aware of its risks.
“Social media, in turn, offers instant popularity among peers in the form of ‘likes’ and ‘followers,’ providing peer acceptance, buoying the teen’s self-concept, therefore, enhancing the draw to participate in these challenges,” Sykes explained.
Tik Tok has addressed the issue in a statement, saying it “does not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous challenges that might lead to injury, and we remove reported behavior or activity that violates our guidelines.”
A spokesperson for the video platform told Yahoo Lifestyle that the safety of its users is a top priority.