Students vandalizing and stealing school property is nothing new. Unfortunately, in any large group of teens, there always seem to be at least a few who are willing to take a Sharpie to the wall or “borrow” things without asking. However, that type of behavior has been taken to the next level thanks to a TikTok trend.
TikTok, the short-form streaming video app popular among teens, has become host to a challenge referred to as “Devious Licks.” This name references the slang version of the word lick which simply put is stealing. The “challenge” started off with users stealing things like masks and soap dispensers but, as social media one-upmanship took hold, this challenge has quickly evolved into completely destroying restrooms.
This is not some isolated event either. Schools across the country have announced they are having issues with this. And judging by the number of videos on TikTok in the trend, many schools just haven’t realized they have a problem yet.
We are tempted to always put these types of behaviors into the category of harmless teenage pranks … and at their core, they appear to be. However, teens should be aware that people who are getting caught are facing actual punishments. Students at some schools have been arrested and charged.
It is also important to note that ransacking a bathroom is not a victimless crime. It should not be the job of the custodial staff to clean up after teens repeatedly trashing a bathroom for social media clout. Students’ normal activities provide enough work without adding a nationwide TikTok trend to the mix.
This isn’t the first time TikTok has spawned a problematic trend or challenge, on the contrary, it is becoming a regular occurrence. If you remember the Tide Pods challenge from a couple of years ago then you are already familiar with the TikTok influence. There was a trend when people were shaving their teeth down, another in which people were trying to get COVID-19. There was one where people were kicking the legs out from people as they jumped that claimed lives. And of course, the one right before this … the Milk Crate Challenge.
TikTok has removed the trend from its app, but the videos have been uploaded to other places for all to see. Perhaps that is the most troubling part. Students are not only willing to do these acts but also post them on their social media. That’s because they know that we as adults are not actively monitoring their behavior. Hopefully, it doesn’t take another trend to get our attention because, as we saw with the Tide Pod challenge, the next trend could be deadly.