'Incredibly dangerous': Warning over new viral TikTok challenge

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

Authorities are concerned lives and homes could be lost if a viral TikTok trend takes off in Australia.

A video shared on the app, which garnered one million likes, shows a teen drop a coin onto the prongs of a partially inserted plug at a wall socket, sending sparks flying and leaving burn marks on the wall.

While the video has since been pulled by TikTok, it has sparked dozens of copycat videos, leading to two fires in the US state of Massachusetts as a result of the trend.

One fire was at a school, with the alleged teenage perpetrator now facing charges.

A teen drops a coin onto the prongs of the plug, creating a large spark. Source: TikTok

A NSW Fire and Rescue spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia TikTok users here should avoid trying the online trend.

“This activity is incredibly dangerous and should not be attempted,” they said.

“It is a fire hazard and puts lives and property at risk.”

The spokesperson said it was vital to only use electrical leads and appliances as they were intended and homeowners should ensure smoke alarms are functioning.

In a version of the video on YouTube, several people revealed relatives had attempted the challenge, causing outlets to blow up and cutting the power supply to some homes.

Some reported smoke coming from the socket.

The aftermath of someone attempting the TikTok challenge. Source: Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

Engagement on video sharing app TikTok is fuelled by a series of current video trends which involves other users attempting to replicate viral videos on the app such as dance routines to particular songs.

With 1.4 million active users in Australia and New Zealand as of 2019 and the number rapidly growing, such popularity in trying to mimic other videos for fame within the app has sparked a wave of content from teens copying viral international videos.

“This video is a concern and similar to past viral videos that encourage unsafe behaviour,” Massachusetts Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said.

He said it was vital teens understood the dangers of fire play and children were educated by parents and schools on electrical safety.

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