Paisley Psychology Services

Counselling, Training and Consultancy

Trouble on TikTok: the skull breaker challenge

I have written about TikTok in the past, several times. It is an online video sharing platform. Poor privacy settings, the ability to livestream to strangers and exposure to explicit content make this very risky and inappropriate for children.

More recently there has been a dangerous ‘challenge’ being uploaded - the Skull Breaker Challenge. It is one of many challenges that are posted on TikTok. In the Skull Breaker Challenge three people stand alongside each other. The middle person jumps and whilst in mid-air, the outer two kick the legs out from under that person (i.e., they trip them). The person falls to the ground, on their back and/or head. It is stating the obvious to say that this is very dangerous. People are sustaining serious injuries including spinal injuries and concussion. It has also been reported that some people have sustained a brain injury.

As well as the serious physical injuries, there can be psychological ones too. In part, the challenge is designed to humiliate - to laugh at the middle person who falls to the ground. There is also the social humiliation that can come from posting these videos online.

TikTok reports that the Skull Breaker Challenges violates their ‘rules’ and they will remove videos if reported. There are hundreds of these videos online!

There is a growing list of reasons that parents are advised to discourage their kids to use TikTok.

Here are some suggestions for parents:

- Do some more research about the app

- Have an open discussion with your child/ren

- Acknowledge that many people including their friends might use the app - as viewers or posting their own videos

- Talk with them about some of your concerns about TikTok

- Tell them about the dangers of completing the range of online challenges including the Skull Breaker

- Remind them that respect and empathy for others is far more important than getting laughs, likes or followers

- Do not show your children any videos of a dangerous challenge, even to warn them about how risky it is.

- Advise them not to view or share videos of the challenge themselves

- Talk with them about reporting videos

- Have an agreement and set parameters about the app

I have included an article about the TikTok Skull Breaker Challenge so that you can get more of a picture of what it is about. Please be aware that the images/videos of the challenge and its aftermath are confronting.

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