The Lethal Secret Behind TikTok


Oliver Just

The audience on TikTok and other social media platforms keeps getting younger.

As social media user numbers increased, its use became standard practice in many people’s lives. This leads to the platforms becoming closer to people and the age gap widening. Now, according to BBC News, “46% of 11-year-olds, 51% of 12-year-olds, and 28% of 10-year-olds now have a social media profile.” 

This means that not just minors, but people under the age that the developers recommend, are using social media platforms with the unrestricted permission of their parents. The children do not need any supervision anyway; TikTok is just a silly dancing app, right?

When a social media platform is introduced to the public for the first time, it is usually given a specific category that the developers made the platform for. For platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, the purpose platforms are more general. This means that the content that users upload gives future users who contemplate downloading the application an idea of what they are getting into. This is not the case for TikTok, though.

Unlike other social media platforms where a general idea of possible dangers is clearly presented to parents, TikTok isn’t stereotyped as a platform with mature content. This gives parents the general idea of TikTok not being like other social media platforms, and that it is different by being for children. 

The issue being, that TikTok doesn’t distinguish itself from other platforms by being safer if at all, it is more dangerous. Despite the platform being categorized as an application for teenager-appropriate content, users can upload whatever they want. When the user is given this possibility on a widely popular platform, they will do anything for social media recognition. Regardless of its consequences. 

Nyquil is an over-the-counter drug that serves as an overnight nasal decongestant. It contains 15% alcohol and should not be consumed more often than every 6 hours. So why is TikTok recommending children videos where people encourage boiling raw chicken in the drug and eating it? #sleepychicken is one of many dangerous TikTok trends that have been popularized despite how obviously dangerous they are, according to Yahoo Finance, “The agency warned that cooking chicken in the nighttime cough medicine could cause liver damage and muscle breakdown.”

The reason why such a dangerous trend function is the unethical abuse of little children. Since a huge group of TikTok users are pre-teens and little children, dangerous actions can be seen as just a joke. This leads the trend to be recreated and end lethally.

Parents will try their best to prepare their child for any possible dangers, but manipulative videos that take advantage of little children are made to surpass the trust that the child has for their parents. 

Many children know not to put a plastic bag over their head, because of the risk of suffocation. But most children do not know that they are entirely capable of being tricked into choking themselves to death.

#blackout was the name of a challenge where users were encouraged to attempt to strangle themselves until they passed out. This dangerous challenge led to many deaths, but not even TikTok wanted to admit that they were recommending the videos to children.

“This disturbing challenge, which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend.”

The company evidently has no remorse for the pain and suffering that its platform has caused. Because of the mature content on the app, the user must be at a mental stage where they aren’t easily influenced by things they see on the internet and in real life.

Despite the age rating on the App Store and Google Play Store being 12 years and above, the usual age for the mental stage of security and self-awareness is around 16 years of age. Of course, everyone matures at a different rate, so age cannot be specified. 

But in order to safely consume all forms of online content, such as the TikTok For You Page, the user must be at an age where they cannot be manipulated into self-harm or performing dangerous acts.