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Parents concerned over newest social media trend

Last Updated Feb 13, 2020 at 8:06 am MDT



CALGARY (CityNews) – A new and dangerous social media challenge is injuring kids and, in some cases sending them to intensive care.

It’s called the Skull Breaker challenge or Jump Trip prank, and it’s making the rounds on TikTok.

One of the most recent incidents of the prank happened at a Calgary school on Monday, when a couple of older students asked a younger student to help with a TikTok video.

“They approached him with the idea that they had this really cool video for TikTok that could make you float,” said Calgary father and CityNews camera operator Nick Blakeney.

A video from another school shows two boys jumping first, then sweeping the feet out from underneath the unsuspecting victim when they jumped, sending him crashing onto his head.

“In my son’s case, he ended up landing on his back hard, knocking the wind out of him,” said Blakeney.

The Calgary Board of Education said the issue is being addressed, adding students are expected to comply with the Student Code of Conduct.

A statement to CityNews reads, “We respond to student behaviour with progressive student discipline that focuses on support and corrective actions while providing learning opportunities to improve behaviour.”

The videos almost always end as soon as the victim hits the ground and rarely show the consequences.

“The decision-making parts of their brains are literally still being formed,” said Kelly Schwartz, Associate Professor of Applied Child Psychology at the University of Calgary. “When we think about our kids thinking about consequences, they might be, but they’re also weighing those against the rewards that they’re going to get from that.”

Schwartz said those include gaining attention and adoration from their peers and social media publicity.

TikTok requires users to be at least 13-years-old to use the app and anyone under the age of 18 must-have the approval of a parent or guardian.

However, plenty of young users are on the platform.

“We need to let kids know that adolescence is going to be a time of risk and time of temptation, said Schwartz. “To just give that sober, second thought, I think that’s all that parents can do.”

As for Blakeney, he’s asking fellow parents to be on alert when it comes to this disturbing trend.

“It’s just concerning that something like this, how easily it could have gone much worse. You need to be on top of this stuff.”