Deadly TikTok Trends Spark Lawsuits, Possible Bans

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Deadly TikTok Trends Spark Lawsuits, Possible Bans

By Movieguide® Contributor

Dangerous TikTok trends continue to harm and kill children, and parents and lawmakers are fighting back.

Most recently, the “One Chip Challenge” has hospitalized several children, even killing some, as Movieguide® previously reported. 

The New York Post shared, “The viral food challenge is a recurring online dare created by Paqui, a flavored tortilla chip company, that releases a new spicy chip for the challenge.”

Paqui, the chip company that creates the dangerous snack, even promotes it on its website.  

“This year’s high voltage chip contains the super-charged Carolina Reaper Pepper and stinging Scorpion Pepper with a shocking twist, it’ll turn your tongue BLUE,” it says. 

The challenge requires participants to eat the entire extremely spicy chip, not drink anything after and then record and post the victim’s reaction to TikTok.

Recently, an Ohio mom rushed her two children, ages 5 and 7, to the ER after they snuck a bag of chips from the gas station and tried to participate in the challenge.  

“Somehow, he snuck it out of the store,” the mother, Jazzilyn Cook, said. When her kids began screaming in the car from the pain of the chip, she was horrified. “I turned around and started panicking. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.”

The One Chip Challenge is just one of many TikTok trends that cause serious harm.  

Last year, the “Blackout Challenge” took the lives of at least 15 children ages 13 and younger. In the challenge, “one tries to choke oneself to the point of passing out,” according to the New York Post.

Movieguide® reported that Tawainna Anderson sued TikTok after her daughter died attempting the challenge. 

“It is time that these dangerous challenges come to an end so that other families don’t experience the heartbreak we live every day,” she said. 

Other trends continue to circulate the app, often resulting in tragedy. 

“10 elementary school children in Massachusetts were hospitalized after trying ‘Trouble Bubble,’ a gum that contains the same ingredient as pepper spray, oleoresin capsicum, and has been popular on TikTok,” the New York Post added. 

“That same month, 13-year-old Jacob Stevens died after taking too much Benadryl as a result of a TikTok challenge in which one takes massive amounts of the antihistamine,” it continued. 

Lawmakers in several states are attempting to ban the app. 

“A group of 18 state attorneys general said on Monday they backed Montana’s effort to ban Chinese-owned short video app TikTok, urging a U.S. judge to reject legal challenges ahead of the Jan. 1 effective date,” Reuters reported. 

Many are concerned that Chinese-owned app poses personal and national security threats and that the “harmful content…inflict[s] ‘emotional distress’ on young users.” 

In 2020, former President Donald Trump attempted to ban new downloads of the app, but several court actions prevented it.

Movieguide® previously reported about whether TikTok could be banned at a federal level: 

TikTok may never have to change its current way of operation as a federal ban might be impossible for several reasons. 

First, it is unclear if a ban would hold up in court. Current regulatory laws are not strong enough to restrict an app from the entire country, and legislation to strengthen these restrictions has stalled as the topic has faded from public discussion.

Beyond legal difficulties, the complete ban of TikTok would have massive implications on world trade, with the potential to “start a digital trade war that is going to harm companies and users on both sides,” said Anupa Chander, a fellow at the Institute for Rebooting Social Media at Harvard University.

American companies like Apple would face immediate backlash from China if a national TikTok ban were to be imposed.

Finally, lawmakers have considered the political effects of banning TikTok. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Bloomberg News earlier this year that if the government were to ban TikTok, “you’re going to literally lose every voter under 35, forever.”

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