Researchers say a fad that went viral on TikTok can be deadly.
The “dry-scooping” challenge involves taking pre-workout beverage powder — which contains high amounts of caffeine — straight instead of adding the requisite amount of water. People who take the challenge take just a sip or two of water as they try to choke down the powder.
“It can be difficult for physicians to identify novel trends that may pose health hazards among youth. Take for instance the current pervasiveness of pre-workout and the dangerous methods of its consumption,” abstract author Nelson Chow, a Princeton University student and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Research intern at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said in a press release, according to Study Finds. “Sometimes investigating unorthodox platforms like TikTok can yield valuable results.”
The press release says:
Users were at extremely high risk of overconsumption or accidental inhalation of pre-workout powder. The videos also feature the mixing of pre-workout with substances such as energy drinks and alcohol, according to the research.
The author collected 100 TikTok videos under the hashtag “#preworkout” and analyzed the following data: likes, method of ingestion, number of servings, and combination with other substances. About 64% of the videos featured males, 30% females and 6% both or ambiguous. Only 8% of videos depicted use according to instruction. The most popular substances consumed alongside pre-workout were energy drinks, creatine/protein powder, and alcohol.
The author suggests that physicians should be aware of the pervasiveness of pre-workout, dangerous methods of consumption, and the potential for accidental overconsumption, inhalation, and injury.
There have been other recent disturbing trends on TikTok. Last month, a challenge dubbed “Devious Licks” swept across the nation.
“Students are destroying or stealing items at their schools, often in the school bathrooms, for what school administrators and police are blaming on a TikTok trend,” NPR reported. “Reports have emerged from across the country: a stolen soap dispenser and damaged sink in Florida; intentionally clogged toilets and mirrors and soap dispensers ripped from walls in California; destruction and red dye staining the bathrooms and a teacher’s belongings stolen in Arkansas; ceiling tiles and partitions destroyed in Tennessee.”
“It’s certainly very, very frustrating for administrators, for custodians, teachers, other students, maintenance staff,” Aubrey Chancellor, the executive director of communications for the North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, told the news outlet. “When this type of thing happens, not only do the custodians and the maintenance workers have to stop whatever they actually should be doing. They have to then come and clean up and that sort of thing. It’s also frustrating for the students because those restrooms then need to be shut down.”
And this month, a new challenge, “Slap a Teacher,” hit schools, prompting students to strike a teacher or staff member and then run away. At least two school districts in the U.S. reported slapping incidents that were allegedly connected to the challenge, according to the Daily Mail.
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