TikTok’s ‘skullbreaker’ challenge could cause significant injury

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As usual, dangerous trends are all the rage online.

Social media has seen plenty of dangerous—even deadly—viral challenges over the last several years. The infamous Tide Pod challenge led to several deaths in early 2018. The recent “penny challenge” risks electric shock and fires, and one of TikTok‘s newest challenges—the “skullbreaker challenge”—could lead to grievous injury. Authorities are warning teens against participating in these potentially deadly online trends, but to little avail. Some teens around the world continue to take part in these dangerous, harmful challenges despite the risks.

TikTok’s most recent challenge involves a trio of teens. For the skullbreaker challenge, they stand in a line and jump, and when the center participant’s feet leave the ground, their companions to either side attempt to knock their feet out from under them. Often, this leads to the center participant sprawling backward and smacking their head on the ground. When the ground in question is concrete or stone, the risk of harm is massively increased.

Dubbed Rompcráneos in Spanish, the trend has been blowing up. After a young man in Venezuela suffered grave injuries after participating, however, authorities are issuing warnings about it. A video of the teen in question has been making the rounds online. Following his brief viral moment, the teen ended up in the Intensive Care Unit, according to the Sun.

The school at which the video was filmed, Santo Tomas Aquino in Venezuela, issued a statement via Twitter after the footage went viral. “Recently a video showing some pupils from our school taking part in a game where they were supposedly endangering the safety of one of the boys, has gone viral on social media,” the statement reads, according to the Sun’s translation. “That’s why the pupils and their respective representatives were summoned today to a meeting with school chiefs to initiate the corresponding procedures.”

Dangerous viral challenges have become increasingly common over the last several years. Like the skullbreaker challenge, the penny challenge, also referred to as the outlet challenge,  presents a particularly high risk. It involves partially plugging a charger into the wall before touching a penny to the slightly exposed prongs. The contact, at its most mild, will likely create a spark. At worst, the challenge could result in house fires or massive electric shock.

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H/T the Sun

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.