The 411 on TikTok and the “Skull Breaker” Challenge

The TikTok video app has taken the world by storm and is one of the fastest-growing apps in the last few years, but it has also helped the spread of the “Skull Breaker Challenge” recently. Here’s what you need to know.

Most Gen Zs will tell you that TikTok is a whole new internet sub-culture that helps them express themselves in fun and creative ways. It is no surprise that the app is the fastest growing social media platform with millions of users worldwide. It took Instagram six years to gain the number of users TikTok gained in three years. It’s no wonder that TitkTok became the go-to platform for the latest internet “skull breaker” challenge that’s left parents horrified.

According to AppTrace, TikTok jumped from 269th to 4th in global app download rank in February 2019. It has remained in the top-20 ever since.

What exactly is TikTok?

Remember the short video app called Vine, which shut down a few years ago? TikTok is like an upgraded version that allows users to create short videos with music, filters, emojis, and some other features. It also has a personalised video feed designed for users based on what they watch, like, and share. It also has a live streaming component as well as categories that include dance, comedy, vlog, food, sports, DIY, animals and many others.

When was it launched?

TikTok was initially launched in China as Douyin in September 2016. In 2017, ByteDance relaunched it for markets outside of China. While TikTok and Douyin both use the same software, they are maintained by separate networks in order to comply with Chinese censorship restrictions. You can download TikTok via the App Store or Google Play stores all around the world.

Why has it taken the world by storm?

TikTok’s rise is due to its simple and fun set-up. It is not a lifestyle app but instead provides users with the tools to create fun and creative content to share with millions of users worldwide. Anyone can become a content provider with very little knowledge or skill.

How many users does TikTok have worldwide?

According to Datareportal’s 2019 stats, TikTok has 500 million active users worldwide. 150 million of those active daily users are in China and they mostly use the Chinese version of the app, called Douyin. It is popular in many Asian countries such as Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

What is the recently controversial “Skull Breaker” challenge on TikTok?

The “Skull Breaker” Challenge is a new viral video trend circulating and spreading on TikTok. It started in Spain, spread to Asia, and was recently reported in South Africa at a school in Pretoria. It consists of three people standing in a row, the middle participant then jumps straight up into the air and before the land, the two people on the right kick in the feet of the jumping person until they lose balance and fall to the ground landing on the back of their head. Needless to say, this is a very dangerous act that can lead to fatal injuries.

What are the dangers of the “Skull Breaker” Challenge?

As the name suggests, the #SkullBreakerChallenge can lead to head and neck injuries. Nathan Richards, MD, an internal medicine and paediatrics physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Yahoo! Lifestyle that doing the “Skull Breaker” Challenge can result in skull fractures, neck fractures, brain bleeding, paralysis, hematomas, bruising, a loss of consciousness, concussions and long term complications, and death. WARNING: the following video contains graphic content:

What are TikTok’s new parental controls?

This week, TikTok rolled out a new feature called Family Safety Mode, which lets parents manage their kid’s activity and time spent on the platform. It is currently not available in South Africa but a few European countries have already received the update. The new features allow parents to set-up time limits for their child each day, with intervals including 40 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes. They can also turn off direct messages or block certain content that’s not age-appropriate.