By: Caroline Tian
Recently, there is an arising trend of inappropriate Tik-Tok challenges of vandalism dubbed “devious licks”. It encourages students to destroy and steal school property, including soap and towel dispensers. It is a widespread activity among students across many areas, such as Canada and the United States.
A few days ago, I heard from my friend that this challenge was going around their school as well, and had been reported on the local news. There was a great inconvenience to the staff and students as only 1 out of the 6 bathrooms in their school was still available. The damages were as expected: sinks were pulled out of the wall, soap and towel dispensers were stolen, and bathroom doors were broken to varying extents. It did not take long before similar things occurred in our school; it can be rather annoying when you walk into the bathroom and realize that all the soap dispensers are gone.
Many might think that this is a stupid decision to make, yet there are many out there that are involved in this challenge. This leads me to wonder about the psychology behind it. As I did more research, I learned that these challenges make individuals feel more connected. Their self-images expand as they feel like they are members of something larger, and can share common experiences with friends. Of course, the connection is important to individuals and the effect can be seen especially significant during COVID-19. Generally, people can benefit from Tik-Tok challenges. However, when misused, it can influence people to make poor decisions like this “devious licks” challenge.
One possible solution to this type of activity is to add restrictions on the Tik-Tok platform such that younger audiences, usually the most susceptible group, will have limited access to certain videos. On a larger scale, there should be further restrictions on allowed content. Theoretically, this should mitigate similar activities from happening, since challenges are usually meant to be shown to others for feedback or praise. Without this incentive, they might find no point in doing the challenges at all.
Crowe, Kaylie. “Tik-Tok challenge encouraging vandalism.” WILX, 17 Sept. 2021, https://www.wilx.com/2021/09/18/tiktok-challenge-encouraging-vandalism/.
WIS News 10 Staff. “TikTok challenge leads to vandalism at South Carolina Middle School, district says.” WIS, 17 Sept. 2021, https://www.wistv.com/2021/09/17/tiktok-challenge-leads-vandalism-south-carolina-middle-school-district-says/
Global News. “TikTok ‘challenge’ has B.C. school districts dealing with theft and vandalism of school property.” Global News, 16 Sept. 2021, https://globalnews.ca/video/8197807/tiktok-challenge-has-b-c-school-districts-dealing-with-theft-and-vandalism-of-school-property
Rutledge, Pamela. “Tik-Tok Challenges: Their Psychological Appeal.” 18 Feb. 2021, https://pamelarutledge.medium.com/tiktok-challenges-their-psychological-appeal-6dcb0dfd19e4#:~:text=TikTok%20challenges%20can%20be%20a%20powerful%20way%20to%20feel%20connected,experiences%20to%20discuss%20with%20friends.