- Social media platforms like TikTok can be entertaining and a great creative outlet but they do have their drawbacks.
- One problem parents need to be aware of is viral trends and challenges that can put their children’s health at risk.
- Here are 12 TikTok trends you should never try plus a few tips to help parents protect their children from getting involved.
Social media is more popular than ever and while it can have its benefits like networking, entertainment, and a creative outlet, it can also have drawbacks. Social media has also seen its fair share of dangerous trends and challenges, especially on TikTok. And with over 1 billion active users, it’s becoming one of the most popular social media platforms. Parents need to be aware of these wild trends and the heavy influence the app can have on its users.
From swallowing spoonfuls of nutmeg to eating corn on the cob on an electric drill, there are plenty of wild trends and challenges parents need to know. Let’s take a look at 12 TikTok trends you should never try plus a few tips on how parents can protect their children from the internet.
The Nutmeg Challenge
The nutmeg challenge went viral a couple of years ago but it’s still important to be aware of it in the event it resurfaces. Essentially participants drank a mixture of several tablespoons of nutmeg with milk or water and recorded their reactions for TikTok.
The spice can lead to intoxication but Insider reports it “is actually pretty dangerous.” According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), just 1- to 4-teaspoons of ground nutmeg can cause toxic symptoms from heart palpitations, blurred vision, hallucinations, and hypothermia. Symptoms typically start within 3- to 6-hours and last 12- to 24-hours but the dangers don’t end there. The AACC says it can even lead to coma and in some cases, it may be fatal.
For reference, the average pumpkin pie recipe only contains 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg which generally has 8 or more servings which is far less than participants are consuming in this challenge. This is certainly a challenge parents need to be aware of and educate their children as to why they should never try it.
Healthline is shedding light on a new viral trend called mouth taping which has gained nearly 25 million views. It’s exactly how it sounds too. TikTok users are taping their mouths shut during sleep and claiming it helps with sleep and stops snoring. But, there are some serious risks that come with this trend.
According to the source, experts say mouth taping can lead to obstructed breathing, and sleep disruptions. It can also make sleep apnea worse and may cause irritation or allergic reactions from the tape. Additionally, if you have nasal congestion, whether it’s from allergies, illness, or a deviated septum, sleeping with your mouth open may be necessary to help you breathe. And in turn, taping your mouth shut can have dangerous consequences.
So while some TikTok users claim it can help you sleep better, the source says it can actually have the opposite effect. Never take medical advice from social media and always consult a doctor. There are better ways to treat sleep apnea, snoring, and other sleeping problems.
Eat This, Not That says that this alarming trend took off a couple of years ago but has since resurfaced this year and parents need to be aware. Sleepy chicken involves marinating raw chicken in over-the-counter cold and flu medicine, such as NyQuil, and then boiling or pan-frying.
It should come as no surprise that this is definitely not a safe way to consume chicken or cold and flu medication. To make matters worse, the source says some TikTok users use up to half a bottle of medicine that is far greater than the recommended dose. And in some videos, the chicken looks undercooked which is also unsafe.
While it’s unclear how much medicine is actually ingested while following this method, it’s likely to exceed the recommended dosage. What’s more, Rachel Fine, RDN and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition tells the source that boiling medication can increase the potency. Simply, just never try this trend and instead, follow the precise instructions on the label.
The Blackout Challenge
While this isn’t necessarily new, the trend has been resurfacing on TikTok and parents need to be aware. The blackout challenge is exactly what it sounds like. This terrible trend encourages participants to make themselves blackout or faint by holding their breath and constricting their chest muscles or choking themselves. What actually happens during this challenge is your brain is depleted of oxygen, similar to what happens during cardiac arrest or choking.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the blackout challenge accounted for more than 80 fatalities in the early 2000s and it’s still causing fatalities today. Needless to say, never encourage anyone to try this challenge, and don’t ever try it yourself.
Putting Garlic In Your Nose
Another alarming trend is gaining attention on TikTok where users claim sticking a clove of raw garlic up your nose can clear congestion. The viral videos show mucus flowing out of the nose after the clove is removed which makes you think it’s effective but Otolaryngologist Raj Sindwani, MD tells the Cleveland Clinic that it actually makes the problem worse.
Dr. Sindwani says that putting garlic in the nose irritates the lining and causes an influx in mucus production while also trapping the mucus you had. In addition to causing more mucus to develop, sticking a garlic clove in your nose can also cause an infection, irritate the nose, and there’s of course, the risk of it getting stuck. There are simply way more effective (and safe!) ways to relieve congestion from allergies or illness and the risks of this trend make it certainly not worth trying.
The Benadryl Challenge
Benadryl is an over-the-counter medication that is often used to relieve symptoms of allergies, hay fever, and the common cold. While taking the appropriate dosage can be safe, this is not the case with the Benadryl challenge. TikTok users are challenging each other to take large doses of the medication to induce hallucinations and while that is a problem in itself, it can also be life-threatening.
Healthline says it’s become such a concern that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning against the serious problems that can develop if you take too much of the medication. And just a friendly reminder, it’s unsafe to take more than the recommended dosage for any type of medication, not just Benadryl. Never try this TikTok challenge.
The Tide Pod Challenge
The Tide Pod challenge isn’t new but it’s important for parents to be aware in the event it ever resurfaces again. During this viral challenge, teens were seen chewing and gagging on dishwasher pods and then daring others to try it.
We shouldn’t have to tell you why you should never try it but it is important to be aware of the risks. The Washington Post says ingesting laundry detergent packets can be harmful for two reasons. First, there is the risk of inhaling the liquid into your lungs and second, you can become very sick by ingesting it. Ingesting toxic laundry detergent can cause a change in heart rate and blood pressure and it may cause seizures or loss of consciousness.
The Cinnamon Challenge
The cinnamon challenge is another wild trend that has been shown on several social media platforms, including TikTok. During this challenge, users try to eat a spoonful of ground cinnamon without drinking anything. Not only can this challenge be painful, but Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz of the University of Miami School of Medicine tells Forbes that it can be “particularly damaging to the lungs.”
Ingesting large amounts of cinnamon can also cause gagging, coughing, choking, and burning sensations. In severe cases, it may cause vomiting, nosebleeds, and tightness in the chest. Inhaling cinnamon can cause inflammation in the lunges, as well as scarring. Needless to say, the risks are just not worth a 1-minute video.
DIY Vampire Fangs
It’s one thing to enjoy a good vampire show or movie and then want to dress up for an event but it’s another to commit by gluing vampire fangs to your teeth. And that is exactly what’s happening with the latest DIY vampire fangs trend.
According to the New York Post, TikTok users are supergluing costume vampire fangs to their teeth using Super Glue, nail glue, as well as other adhesives. In fact, the trend has gained over 9 million views. It should come as no surprise that this is not safe.
Not only is the glue toxic but Dr. Z. Mackie, a Detroit dental practitioner tells the source that nail glue won’t come off. It can damage your enamel, cause lacerations, and oral cavities, and may even damage neighboring teeth. Simply, just do not try it.
The Corn Cob Hack
TikTok can be a great place for genius food hacks and delicious recipes but one hack you should never try is the corn cob hack. Some TikTokkers, including famous rapper Jason Derulo, tried to eat corn really fast by eating the cob on a spinning drill.
If you haven’t seen the results, we’re sure you can guess what might happen. Let’s just say Jason Derulo chipped his teeth while giving it a try. There’s also the risk of getting your hair caught in the drill, among others. It’s safe to say you just really should not be using power tools in the kitchen, especially for eating!
The Frozen Honey Trend
Another viral trend on TikTok is eating frozen honey. For this hack, TikTok users freeze a bottle of honey, squeeze out the contents and chomp it off. They claim it tastes like a chewy candy. Even though honey is a natural product, experts warn against this trend.
According to Women’s Health Magazine, eating a lot of honey at once may cause diarrhea, stomach cramping, and bloating. Dietitian nutritionist Marisa Moore, RDN told the source that “Sugars, in excess, can stimulate the gut to increase water output. And that can lead to diarrhea.” Additionally, it’s no secret that eating a lot of excess sugar is not good for your health and chewy candy can harm your teeth too.
The Dry Scooping Trend
When used correctly, pre-workout can be a useful supplement, especially for individuals with an intensive training program. You’re supposed to mix the pre-workout powder with water and drink it shortly before your workout but with this questionable TikTok trend, users are encouraging others to dry scoop the powder right into their mouth and wash it down with a sip of water. They claim there are enhanced effects because the powder is absorbed faster but the Cleveland Clinic warns that it comes at a cost.
According to the source, flooding your system with that much caffeine at once can spike your blood pressure and heart rate, resulting in heart palpitations. One TikTok user actually suffered a heart attack after trying it. Other risks include accidentally inhaling the powder and choking. Needless to say, if you’re going to use pre-workout, use it safely and how it’s intended to be used.
How to Protect Your Children
While social media apps (like TikTok) can certainly have their benefits and can be harmless, it’s important for parents to protect their children. Children and teens have a strong desire to fit in with their peers and this is one common reason why many partake in the viral challenges. Some also do it to gain popularity while others may do it to defy their parents. Whatever the reason, parents should do what they can to help educate their children on the dangers of the internet.
Along with educating your children, monitoring their internet usage is another effective way to protect them. While some kids and teens will feel like this is an invasion of their privacy, it’s really about saving their lives and keeping them safe. Luckily, there are programs available that provide parental controls so you can block websites, monitor their usage, and even enforce limits.