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Stay away from TikTok dares, UAE youth urged

Sarwat Nasir /Dubai
Filed on October 30, 2019 | Last updated on October 30, 2019 at 05.48 am
TikTok, dares, UAE youth, restricted mode,
TikTok introduced several safety features after it faced major scrutiny over inappropriate content available to minors.- Alamy Image

The platform, which allows users to upload 15-second-long videos, is one of the go-to apps of the youth.

UAE teens are encouraging their peers and other youngsters who use TikTok to keep the 'restricted mode' switched on, so that they won't get lured into dangerous social media challenges.

Comments poured in after a UAE-based mother shared a harrowing story of how her son came home with a bruised neck - because he'd taken part in the 'pass-out challenge'.

The challenge, trending among UAE students on TikTok, requires participants to see who can strangle themselves the longest before passing out.

It's a dare that initially surfaced in 2014 on other social media platforms and has trended on and off since then. Now, it has gained popularity on TikTok, with the #PassOutChallenge hashtag registering 1.4 million views.

The platform, which allows users to upload 15-second-long videos, is one of the go-to apps of the youth.

Khaleej Times viewed the content in the hashtag - with the restricted mode off - and found many disturbing videos of teens pressing their peer's chest to help them pass out. Some were restricting their airflow with their hands, wearing a closed helmet, and others were holding a napkin to their nose and mouth.

Alia Naidj, a 16-year-old French high school student in Dubai, said: "Students do these challenges because they think it makes them 'look cool' and they feel like it gives them superiority. They have the fear of missing out and want to be a part of what is trending.

"I think, in order for children and teens to be safer, everyone involved needs to ensure that the app's restricted mode is always on. I don't think teens realise how dangerous some of these challenges can be."

Stop pals from doing it

A Ukrainian student in Dubai, Yevhenii Fomenko, 16, said he often tells his friends not to participate in dangerous social media challenges.

He has personally seen a friend chase another with lit fireworks inside a room as part of a previous social media challenge on TikTok.

"I don't do them myself but a lot of my friends do and they are very interested in participating in these challenges. It's not the best thing they can be doing because a lot of them are dangerous, especially on TikTok if they are using it without the restricted mode.

"I think it's common sense that a person shouldn't do the dangerous ones. I've seen students do these challenges while inside the classroom or during school breaks," he said.

A 17-year-old Indian student, Amal Habib, said she "gets shocked" after seeing kids her own age doing bizarre social media challenges.

"I don't understand why they get tempted to do them. Most of the trending ones go away after a while and newer ones come," she said.

"It's too much pressure for teens and whoever gets the most views and likes seems to be what everyone cares about. I think there are other ways to get views than doing dangerous challenges."

TikTok introduced several safety features after it faced major scrutiny over inappropriate content available to minors. It has the restricted mode, which filters out inappropriate content, as well as comment filters and screen-time management.

WHAT IS TIKTOK?

It's a social media application that allows users to share 15-second-long videos, jazzed up with instant filters, music, animation and other special effects.

HOW TO TURN ITS RESTRICTED MODE

1-Go to your Profile tab (tap the Profile icon).

2-Tap the Settings icon (the one with three dots) in the top right corner.

3-Tap Digital Wellbeing.

4-Tap Restricted Mode and follow the steps in the app.

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com


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