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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Dangerous and crazy TikTok challenges arise in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

With the introduction of the internet and social media into our daily lives, viral internet challenges have served as a source of entertainment. For the past two years, the nation has been in lockdown and isolated from everyone. The main way of staying connected with one another is through social media. Controversial and spontaneous challenges/trends have blossomed out of the sheer boredom that plagues many Americans.


Devon Fell is a professor of psychology at Fullerton College. She sees some connections between viral internet challenges and the pandemic. “The word quarantine refers to being isolated. Psychologists have known the detrimental effects of social isolation on mental health for a long time,” says Fell. Fell believes there may be a connection between people making poorer decisions while isolated, like participating in some dangerous internet challenges, but says it’s likely a result of boredom, “After prolonged periods of low social stimulation, these dangerous trends provide some relief from boredom, and research shows that boredom increases risky behavior.” Inside Fullerton has cataloged the popular trends of the pandemic.  

People on TikTok have been seen stacking milk crates in a pyramid and attempt to walk across them. This challenge is dangerous and has even led to hospitalizations. Photo illustration by Andrea Koehler

Milk Crate 

One of the popular challenges in summer 2021 is the #MilkCrateChallenge which was one of the most ridiculous ones. For this challenge, participants walk up a pyramid of milk crates and try to get to the other side without falling. Gatherings across the nation have taken place in local parks and family backyards where individuals attempt to scale the hazardous pyramid. Many videos show participants climbing up the creates in a vain attempt to reach the other side where in most cases the participants fall to their demise. The Baltimore City Health Department tweeted on Aug. 23, 2021 “With COVID-19 hospitalizations rising around the country, please check with your local hospital to see if they have a bed available for you, before attempting the #Milkcratechallenge.”

Some students have been seen in TikToks stealing soap dispensers and other school property to participate in a viral challenge. Photo illustration by Andrea Koehler

Devious Licks

More recently, in September 2021, the #DeviousLickChallenge took people from climbing crates to criminal charges. This was a TikTok trend/challenge where high schoolers would steal an item from their school to a sped-up version of the song “Ski Ski Basedgod” by Lil B. These students started out by stealing or “licking” bathroom supplies, but as the challenge got more attention, they started stealing projectors, fire extinguishers, toilets, sinks, and eventually even the keys to a school bus. This led to schools having to shut down bathrooms to prevent more “licks”  and even some students getting arrested.


Lebron James

The Devious Licks Challenge wasn’t the first law-breaking challenge of the pandemic. In August 2021, the LeBron James Space Jam Toy Trend showed up on Tiktok. In this challenge, people would steal the heads off LeBron figurines and cardboard cutouts associated with his movie Space Jam 2. They’d then use creative ways to defile the NBA star’s products resulting in people posting videos to social media, or selling the dismembered head on eBay for up to $14,000. As a result, stores began locking up the toys. There is no known reason for the value or craze with the NBA star’s head. The trend is one big inside joke to users on TikTok and social media.