NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new disturbing trend on a popular cellphone app that’s causing children to get severely injured.
It’s called the Skull Breaker Challenge — the latest trend on the social media app TikTok that’s landing kids in the hospital.
Marc and Stacy Shenker’s 13-year-old son in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is one victim.
“He suffered a concussion. As a result of the concussion, he also had a seizure,” Marc Shenker said.
“By the time I got to school, which was under 20 minutes, he was non-responsive and they had called an ambulance,” Stacy Shenker said.
One teen in Miami who doesn’t want to be identified was also injured.
“I don’t even know if it’s describable how much it hurts, not only physically but mentally,” the teen said.
The challenge calls for a victim to be fooled into thinking they’re learning a new dance. Instead, when they jump, two people on either side kick out the victim’s legs, causing them to fall and hit their head.
The Shenkers say they want to warn other families about the trend.
“A prank of this nature couldn’t just put a kid in the hospital but could actually kill someone,” Marc Shenker said.
“It’s really important that parents and teachers are explaining to kids that this is actually an assault. It’s a form of cyber-bullying and it absolutely has to stop,” child psychiatrist Dr. Jodi Gold told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
Gold says most kids who use TikTok are middle schoolers and may not realize the consequences of the challenge.
“You are now recording yourself assaulting someone and now you’ve put it out publicly, so absolutely this is going to follow you,” she said.
So why do kids do this in the first place? Eleven-year-old Miguel Fernandez says he knows why.
“Because TikTok is like a trending app, so I think this would be an opportunity to get them famous,” he said.
A spokesperson for TikTok says its community guidelines do not allow content that encourages or promotes these dangerous challenges and says any reported behavior that violates those guidelines is removed.