BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new viral video challenge on social media is getting the attention of parents and fire fighters.
TikTok is an app where users make videos, usually dancing or doing something silly, but a recent challenge, that involves using a cell phone charger, a wall outlet and a penny, is anything but lighthearted.
“It’s disturbing on many fronts,” said Birmingham Fire Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo.
In a video making rounds nationally, a young man plugs in a cell phone charger halfway. The prongs are exposed and then he drops a penny on it to cause sparks.
“It could create a fire that is not visible, that is burning behind the wall and really potentially turn into a big fire,” says Carillo. “Not only does it pose a life safety threat for an individual, it creates a huge fire hazard as well. So not only hurt yourself, but someone else,”
The challenge started a fire at a Massachusetts high school. No one was injured in this case. Those who participate could end up facing arson charges.
“Teenagers are generically risk takers for the following reasons,” says UAB psychologist Josh Klapow. “Strong social influence, exposure online to more success stories than failures, thus creating a false sense of safety and security and an underdeveloped frontal cortex, which serves executive control, and risk reduction functions. All this and you have impulsive, easily influenced, risk taking kids who do dangerous things.”
Carrillo urges young people to be careful and for parents to be vigilant in knowing what their children are doing.
“Monitor what they are looking at on social media. Talk about some of the dangers associated with these challenges.”