Trending TikTok ‘Skull Breaker Challenge’ ‘dangerous’ for children

A new trend called the “Skull Breaker Challenge” being performed through the popular cell phone app, TikTok, is causing some children to get hurt.

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TikTok is an app where people create content and record themselves, mostly singing and dancing but some are using the app to trick others.

The “Skull Breaker Challenge” trend records someone while they think they are learning a new dance move. When they jump into the air, two people kick out their legs which can cause them to fall on their head or neck.

“It’s not funny. They shouldn’t do that. Somebody is going to end up seriously hurt,” said Mechelle Sadler, who is a grandmother.

News Center 7 Reporter Katy Anderson spoke with health experts about the risks some kids are taking and what parents should do.

“They’re going airborne when they do this. It’s not like they are just crumbling down. They are going airborne and smacking their head on the ground,” said Trauma Program Manager for Dayton Children’s Hospital Lisa Schwing.

Dayton Children’s Hospital has not seen a lot of kids come in because of TikTok challenges but it is a concern of theirs because of the risks, according to Schwing.

“It may attract kids because they may think it’s funny, but it’s really dangerous,” said Schwing.

Hitting the back of the head or neck could cause a concussion, fracture, brain damage, cervical spine injury or cause a child to become paralyzed, according to Schwing.

Most kids who use TikTok are middle school aged, according to Child Psychiatrist Dr. Jodi Gold from The Gold Center for Mind Health and Wellness who spoke with our affiliate CBS 2 News.

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“It’s really important that parents and teachers are explaining to kids that this is actually an assault, it’s a form of cyber bullying and it absolutely has to stop,” said Gold.

Schwing suggests that parents ask their children if they’ve heard of the challenge, ask them what they think it is and inform children of the consequences.

Children are also doing other challenges through the app including the “Outlet Challenge” that encourages people to plug an outlet into the wall and put a penny behind it. This results in electrical sparks and possible fires.

“There’s more out there than a parent could ever imagine, so if you’re not talking to your kids and checking on your kid’s social media, then you are missing the boat,” Schwing said.

Local mother of four children, Amber Holiman, said she doesn’t allow her younger children to use social media because of bullying and inappropriate postings.

“I think you should always know what your kids are doing and be aware of what’s going on in their lives so that way you can help prevent things from happening that could have been prevented,” said Holiman.

TikTok community guidelines do not allow content that encourage or promote dangerous challenges. Any reported behavior is removed, according to a TikTok spokesperson.

The company is also making changes. TikTok introduced a family safety mode last week that gives parents more control on their children’s accounts.

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