Expert gives take on what drives viral TikTok challenges

[anvplayer video=”5057343″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Yet another TikTok challenge that is going viral across the country, and it has made its way right here in some of the schools around town.

As we reported last night, this challenge is encouraging vandalism right on school property – and school administrators are not happy about it. The latest “dare” sweeping the nation is encouraging students to vandalize and steal property straight from school.

News10NBC’s Jenny Ly has a look at what draws teens to these types of negative social media trends.

“The reason social media is so potent is because of how we’re built as human beings. We’re wired for relationships, social connection and adult and kids crave social approval,” said Anthony R. Pisani, an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Rochester.

The more outrageous the item that is stolen, the more social approval or followers the student could get.

“Teenagers and adults have been doing ridiculous and sometimes harmful things for social approval for a long time. Social media amplifies that desire for more followers to make people laugh and can really overwhelm judgment because we’re really social beings,” Dr. Pisani said.

Several schools in the local area have reported vandalism and with one student allegedly ripping out a urinal out of the boy’s bathroom, forcing school administrators to send out letters to families.

So, what is some advice that Dr. Pisani gives to parents and teachers?

“One would be to not lump in every teenager with people who participated in this challenge, and the second is to emphasize the impact that this has on real people. I think when you’re caught up in wanting to get followers and have a moment of fame, you forget that there real people who are affected by this. There are environmental services staff and others in the school who have to clean up some of these messes and it’s very discouraging because people give their lives and careers to making this school a pleasant and clean place, and then to have to come in after one of these challenges can be really discouraging for them,” Dr. Pasani said.

In response to the letters, News10NBC’s Jenny Ly checked with area law enforcement. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says they are not aware of any complaints. Similarly, in Irondequoit, Chief Alan Laird says typically these incidents are handled internally by the school unless it rises to a higher level.