6 viral TikTok challenges that went terribly wrong

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaMay 01, 2023 | 18:27

6 viral TikTok challenges that went terribly wrong

Some Challenges in TikTok have taken really dark turn. Photo: dailyO

TikTok is known for its viral trends, and not all the time it's fun and entertaining. At times, these trends and challenges have been dangerous and life-threatening. In a recent event, on April 29, a 16-year-old from North Carolina, US suffered severe burns covering almost 75% of his body, after attempting a TikTok challenge that went terribly wrong.

What was the challenge?

  • The challenge involved creating a makeshift blowtorch by using a lighter and a spray can. The teenager, Mason Dark, and his friends were attempting this challenge when the can of spray paint he was holding exploded, engulfing them in flames.
  • Mason tried to alleviate the burns by jumping into a nearby river, but his skin was badly charred.
  • He was immediately taken to a hospital where he is expected to stay for at least six months in the UNC Burn Center. Mason underwent surgery to receive skin grafts to begin the long recovery process.
[We] come to find out now from the surgery, that he's got the third-degree burns… it's like a T in his back and it was from him taking off his shirt, and then it got stuck or something. He's unrecognizable.
- Mason's mother Holli Dark, told WRAL

This comes weeks after, a 13-year-old boy from Ohio state of United States died after ingesting 12 to 14 pills of 'Benadryl', an antihistamine, as part of the "Benadryl Challenge". 

What is Benadryl Challenge?

This challenge is not new, and the US Food and Drug Administration has been warning people about the "Benadryl Challenge" since 2020. It is a social media phenomenon that involves taking a large amount of the medicine to 'induce hallucinations'.

Jacob Stevens, the 13-year-old from Ohio who participated in this trend with his friends, filmed himself while he swallowed numerous pills. Unfortunately, he overdosed, and the whole thing was captured on video. 

In 2020, another girl from Oklahoma had died in a similar way while attempting this challenge. 

There are many other challenges like this on TikTok that have claimed the lives of teenagers: 

1. Blackout Challenge  

The "Blackout Challenge" is a dangerous social media trend that involves strangling oneself until losing consciousness to experience a "high." This challenge can cause serious injury or even death, and it has been linked to several fatalities, particularly among young children and adolescents.

  • It is difficult to provide an exact number of deaths related to the "Blackout Challenge" as cases may go unreported or classified under different causes of death. According to Independent.ukTikTok’s Blackout Challenge has been linked to the deaths of 20 children in 18 months.
  • For instance, in 2020, a 10-year-old girl from Italy was found dead after attempting the challenge on TikTok, and in 2021, a 12-year-old boy from Colorado died from suffocation after participating in the challenge.


2. Skull Breaker Challenge  

The Skull Breaker Challenge, which emerged in 2020, is a dangerous social media trend that involves tripping someone, causing them to fall on their back and potentially hit their head, while two other individuals kick their legs out from under them. 

Photo: Skull Breaker Challenge gone wrong/Youtube

This dangerous prank can cause serious injury, including concussions, fractures, and even death. The trend first gained attention in 2020 after numerous reports of injuries and hospitalizations emerged. The viral trend has reportedly caused injuries across New Jersey, Miami, Arizona, and Mexico, with a few high schoolers even being charged with cyberbullying in Florida. 

3. Penny Challenge 

The "Penny Challenge" is a social media trend that involves placing a penny between a phone charger and an electrical socket to create sparks. This challenge is hazardous as it can cause electrical shocks, fires, and damage to property.

4. Back Cracking Challenge 

The "Back Cracking Challenge" is another social media trend that made everyone into a chiropractor, and lead everyone cracking one's back by twisting it forcefully, often with the help of a partner or by using furniture to hear a 'crackling sound'. This challenge is not recommended as it can cause serious injury, including damage to the spine and nerves.


This trend emerged in 2021, and some people were seriously injured while performing this challenge since they were not performing it correctly. 

5. The Salt Challenge

The "Salt Challenge" (2020) is a social media trend that involves consuming large amounts of salt in a short period. Many teenagers were seen performing this challenge, whilst they directly poured cans of salt into their mouths. 

Photo: Teenager eating salt directly

According to experts, this challenge can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and kidney damage, among other health risks.

6. Fire Challenge 

One of the most dangerous ones, involves pouring flammable liquids, such as rubbing alcohol or gasoline, onto one's body and setting it on fire. The goal is to extinguish the flames quickly, but it can cause severe burns, permanent disfigurement, and even death.  

Many Twitter users claim that a 16-year-old from North Carolina suffered serious injuries where actually taking part in the 'Fire Challenge'. Previously also, there have been numerous deaths related to the Fire Challenge. In 2014, a 15-year-old boy from New York died from severe burns after attempting the challenge, and in 2017, an 8-year-old girl from Florida died from injuries sustained when her cousin poured boiling water on her during a similar challenge.  

Trends like these have led people to raise concerns about the app.

Last updated: May 01, 2023 | 18:28
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