Over the last week, the Devious Lick TikTok challenge has been making the news in most communities around the country. This challenge, which started with a user anonymously filming himself stealing a box of masks from his school, entices kids to steal items or destroy school property, then post it with the Devious Lick hashtag on TikTok.
Like the Tide Pods Challenge and the recent Crate Challenge, teens have taken to these trends like wildfire, even with possible danger to themselves looming. And while TikTok has since banned the videos and the hashtag, kids are still finding ways to post the videos.
Trends and challenges like the Devious Lick will not be the last to encourage kids to try questionable things on video, then share it to their social media followers. Parents can, however, prevent their kids from engaging in these types of challenges.
Here are a few things parents should know.
- Kids, especially teens, are prone to risky behaviors. With an underdeveloped Pre-Frontal Cortex (aka the wise owl brain), they often struggle with impulsivity. Talking to your kids about these types of trends, what might happen if someone (not necessarily them) did something like this, and why they might try something like this, with an open, positive approach can help teens engage in critical thinking around a difficult topic.
- The need for social media likes, shares, and views is a real thing. Humans want to belong, and teens in particular are developing their sense of self in the world. The affirmation of a lot of views, likes, and shares does that in spades. Talking to your kids about what it means if they get high engagement on a video, discussing social influencers and how they make a living, and being honest about the reality of “hitting it big” is important.
- A healthy, safe relationship with a caring adult is the best way to prevent issues like this. Kids are going to mess up, but they need to know that when they do, they’ve got a supportive parent behind them, willing to help them process what went wrong, and work with them to make things right. Focus on making them a good digital citizen, who has hobbies, friendships, and activities outside of their online life. And show them that you’re not afraid to tackle the tough stuff, without judgment.