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Photography Kon Karampelas, via Unsplash

TikTok issues a warning about the ‘skull-breaker challenge’

Tbh, the name is a pretty clear warning in itself

TikTok, like most social media platforms, can be used as a force for good. Just look at the World Health Organisation’s use of the app to combat misinformation about coronavirus, or how it’s been used by young people in the past to inspire political action

On the other hand, TikTok, like most social media platforms, can be a source of some pretty stupid and – to risk sounding like your mum – dangerous trends. That’s where the “skull-breaker” challenge comes in.

Basically, the challenge involves getting someone to jump straight up in the air, then kicking their legs out from under them, causing them to unexpectedly fall backwards onto their head (hence the name).

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the challenge has already caused a few relatively serious injuries. The BBC reports a girl in the UK being hospitalised due to the trend, with what has been called “a severe spinal injury”, and similar situations have been reported in several US states, including New Jersey, where two kids were charged with aggravated assault and endangering an injured victim due to events involving the challenge.

TikTok has responded by issuing an in-app warning under the challenge tag, which reads: “TikTok values creativity and expression, but user safety is our foremost priority.”

“Do not perform, imitate or encourage public participation in dangerous stunts and risky behaviour that can lead to serious injury or death.”

“We do not allow content that encourages or replicates dangerous challenges that might lead to injury,” the platform adds in a statement on its website. “In fact, it’s a violation of our Community Guidelines and we will continue to remove this type of content from our platform.”

“Nobody wants their friends or family to get hurt filming a video or trying a stunt. It’s not funny – and since we remove that sort of content, it certainly won’t make you TikTok famous.”

So there you have it: please don’t try to fracture your friend’s skull. And, to be honest, if anything’s got “skull-breaker” in the title, it’s probably good life advice to just… not do it.