The TikTok Outlet Challenge that has exploded on social media is definitely not the kind of outlet that parents want for their kids – precisely because it explodes and could injure or kill the kids who have been duped into trying it.
Technology can be a wonderful, productive and enriching thing, but when it is exploited to con kids into thinking that something as dangerous and potentially deadly as this challenge is fun, cool and “okay” to do, then we have a serious problem.
What is the TikTok Outlet Challenge?
The TikTok outlet challenge is a dangerous dare that puts participants at risk of electrocution and electrical shock injury and/or burn injuries. Young people are learning about it through social media, especially the video app TikTok.
What the dangerous, absurd challenge entails is the following:
- A person inserts the plug portion of a phone or mobile device charger partially into an electrical outlet so that the metal prongs remain exposed and accessible
- A person slides a penny in the space between the plug and the outlet so that the coin is touching the plug’s metal prongs
- The sought-after results are sparks, smoke and damage to the outlet
- The unacknowledged risks include electrocution, injury and/or fire
Can a person be electrocuted by the challenge?
Absolutely. When people come into direct contact with the electrical current flowing from an electrical outlet, there is always the risk of electrocution. Here are some of the potential, dangerous consequences of the challenge :
- Charger plug and/or electrical outlet blows up
- Charger plug and/or electrical outlet catches fire and possibly sets building on fire
- Charger plug and/or electrical outlet blows up in child’s face
- Child is burned by exploding charger plug and/or electrical outlet
- Child suffers an electrical shock injury
- Child is electrocuted and dies
Additionally, people who participate in the challenge could face criminal charges, including but not necessarily limited to arson, destruction of property, damage to property (soot on walls, charred outlets and wiring and fried circuit breakers) and disorderly conduct.
What can parents do to protect their kids from the challenge?
Tell your kids about the TikTok Outlet Challenge (better they find out from you than social media), make sure they know and understand the dangers, and instruct them to NEVER EVER participate – no matter how “harmless” and “funny” it is misleadingly made to appear in the videos on social media.
Clues that a child may be participating in the challenge include:
- Scorched electric sockets/outlets
- Power outages
- A need for new phone charger plugs