TikTok's 'Skull Breaker Challenge' Is Landing Kids in the ER and Freaking Out Parents—Here's What to Know
One mom took to Facebook to warn about this "malicious cruel viral prank."
The video-sharing social media platform everyone under the age of 18 is obsessed with isn’t just for lip-syncing and funny pranks. Parents are growing increasingly concerned that some pretty risky stuff is happening in the TikTok world—such as a new “challenge” dubbed the “Skull Breaker,” which seems to have originated in Spain.
The challenge involves three people—two who are in on the prank, and an unsuspecting third participant. All three stand in a straight line and are told to jump in the air (by the person doing the filming, or someone else). However, the person in the middle, who doesn’t know what’s about to happen, is the only one who actually jumps. The other two people kick inward to knock the middle person off their feet—and, most likely, onto their head.
One viral Skull Breaker video out of Venezuela, which has been removed from social media but is still archived on Twitter and has been shared by concerned parents, educators and medical professionals, shows exactly what can happen. In this instance, the student falls onto the back of his head on the ground outside his school. Administrators of the school took to social media to condemn the challenge.
Although the Skull Breaker is being hailed as the latest viral social media challenge by some media outlets and is gaining in popularity among TikTok users, it’s become a headline-grabbing talking point largely because of concerned parents.
At least two kids in the US have been hospitalized, and their moms have taken to their own social media pages to warn other parents and try to put a stop to the dangerous trend.
On February 8, Valerie Hodson shared the scary tale of her son’s attempt at the Skull Breaker.
“I really contemplated posting this, but I feel there needs to be awareness of this malicious cruel viral prank,” she wrote on Facebook alongside several images of her son in a hospital bed. “On Wednesday my son was asked to do a jumping contest with his 2 ‘friends’, when he jumped up, the 2 boys kicked him, as hard as they could, so his legs flew out in front of him. He landed hard flat on his back and head, as he struggled to get up he lost consciousness, he fell forward landing on his face.”
Hodson went on to reveal that her son has a head injury, stitches in his face, severe cuts inside his mouth, and two front teeth she has to “keep an eye on.”
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She added that her son didn’t know what was going to happen, and because he knew the other boys in the video, he trusted them.
On February 11, another mom, Terri Wimmer Smith from Alberta, posted a warning to parents about the dangers of the challenge and asked for “prayers” for her son Parker after he also fell after being “unknowingly tiktok pranked (sic).” On Facebook, Wimmer Smith said Parker had two broken bones in his wrist, which later required surgery and pins in his arm. Her message to other parents was clear: “teach your kids that this crap is dangerous.”
“The safety and well-being of our users is a top priority at TikTok,” a TikTok spokesperson told Yahoo! Lifestyle. “As we make clear in our Community Guidelines, we do not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous challenges that might lead to injury, and we remove reported behavior or activity that violates our guidelines. To help keep our platform safe, we have introduced a slate of safety features geared towards enhancing our users’ experience, including tools for reporting inappropriate content and for managing privacy settings.”
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