Viral

The most dangerous TikTok trends of all time

Girl, 12, dies after sick TikTok choking challenge: 'Someone encouraged her'

TikTok isn’t all fun and frivolity. For all the innocent crazes that come and go, there are plenty of dangerous trends to look out for on the hugely popular platform.

Over the years, the app has risen in popularity to reach an audience of more than a billion people and become a modern phenomenon.

It’s impacted the lives of so many and holds such influence on the zeitgeist that it’s only natural that negative elements have emerged alongside the positive when it comes to viral trends.

From bizarre crazes to life threatening challenges, these are the most dangerous TikTok trends of recent times that are definitely not to be tried at home.

‘Dragon’s breath’ liquid nitrogen trend

The first, and most recent, dangerous trend to emerge on the app is the popularity of ‘Dragon’s breath’, which has seen children hurt as a result of ingesting liquid nitrogen.

Around 25 children have been hurt after the ‘dragon’s breath’ snack, also known as chiki ngebul, became the focus of a viral trend in Indonesia.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The snack consists of a bowl of sweets covered in liquid nitrogen and if eaten before it’s burned off, it can be very dangerous.

Dr Dicky Budiman, who is a doctor and researcher of global health security at Griffith University, said that liquid nitrogen was becoming more accessible. It’s often sold by street vendors and young children aren’t able to handle it safely.

“Maybe now it’s decreasing [in price] and not only easier to access but also the number of new businesses using this liquid nitrogen is also increasing”, he said.

“For some teenagers, the experience [of] dangerous things [generates] more enthusiasm. They [are] eager to try it. That’s a dangerous thing,” he said.

The Kia Challenge

LAPD issues alert over TikTok challenge encouraging vehicle theftswww.youtube.com

Back in the summer of 2022, people inadvertently destroyed their own cars after a clip explaining the “Kia Challenge” went viral and inspired a series of impersonators.

In fact, a woman had her car destroyed after taking on the challenge, which sees people attempt to start a Kia car using just a USB cable in the car's ignition instead of the usual set of keys.

The first video featured a man appearing to successfully start a Kia car with a USB. However, the entire ignition box has been exposed making it look highly dangerous, especially to any untrained individuals.

Alissa Smart from Lapel, Indiana has revealed that her car was destroyed and had numerous valuables stolen when people broke into her Kia car during the night and tried to start it with a USB charger.

Speaking to FOX59, Smart said: "I was scared, anxious and confused on how someone could see two car seats, and a diaper bag, and still commit such a monstrous act.

The Benadryl challenge

The trend proved fatal in 2020Mario Tama/Getty Images

Another tragic trend emerged in 2020, when a 15-year-old girl reportedly died after taking part in the “Benadryl challenge” in the US, according to Forbes.

It saw participants take an excessive amount of Benadryl, which is usually taken as an anti-allergy medication, in a bid to experience hallucinogenic qualities.

“Benadryl in large doses can cause seizures and cardiac arrests. If young people are being encouraged to take it in large doses on TikTok, this is very dangerous,” David Juurlink, MD, head of the division of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Toronto in Canada said at the time. “This is not a drug people should be experimenting with.”

The Blackout Challenge

A viral challenge blamed for several deaths, the Blackout Challenge is one of the most harmful to ever emerge online.

The trend grew in popularity in 2022 and proved tragic, after children filmed themselves holding their breath until they fell unconscious due to a lack of oxygen.

It has been blamed for several deaths and some parents sued TikTok over claims that the platform’s algorithm promotes videos of other people doing the challenge.

The app was sued in May by the family of Nylah Anderson, a 10-year-old girl who died in the US last December after reportedly attempting the challenge.

The Penny Challenge

@doms2230

the outlet blew #TargetHalloween #MakeItCinematic #outlet #outletexploding #foryoupage #fyp #fypシ #pennychallenge #tiktokchallenge #trend

In what might go down as one of the most brazenly stupid viral phenomena, people used pennies to cause sparks from mains sockets in early 2020.

For a short while, people posted videos of themselves inserting a penny behind a phone charged plugged partly into a socket. The penny coming into contact with the metal prongs would then cause sparks – and some people even inadvertently caused fires while taking part in the challenge.

It was such a concern at some point that it caused fire services to warn against taking part in the challenge. Michael Clusker, a Fire Station Manager in Carlisle blasted the "dangerous" game at the time [via The Sun].

He said: "The outcome from this is that someone will get seriously hurt. Every year there are numbers of people killed by electrical shocks. It can kill you if it gets you right.

"Anything that interferes with electrical equipment - unless you are a qualified electrician - is very dangerous."

The NyQuil Chicken Challenge

TikTok's NyQuil Chicken EXPLAINEDwww.youtube.com

Ever wondered what cold and flu medicine would taste like with chicken? Of course not, but it was actually a big thing last year on the platform.

Also known as "sleepy chicken" online, a now-deleted recipe video showed a man prepping raw chicken with "four thirds” of the cold and flu medicine NyQuil.

People soon began claiming that the bizarre looking chicken could cure colds – and experts were soon so concerned that they issued warnings about the trend in a bid to stop people trying out the strange recipe.

The FDA has issued a warning, as part of a broader update, A Recipe for Danger: Social Media Challenges Involving Medicines, explaining: "Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways.”

The warning continued: "It could also hurt your lungs. Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it.”

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)