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English Montreal School Board warns parents about new TikTok ‘devious licks’ challenge

TikTok says it's stepping up its online protection against hoaxes and dangerous challenges. (File Photo / Getty Images). File Photo / Getty Images

The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is warning parents about a new Tik Tok challenge which officials fear could be gaining popularity among students across North America.

It’s a series of so-called monthly challenges called ‘devious licks’ in which young people engage in activities, which are video recorded and then posted to the online platform. But it’s what those challenges amount to that’s the problem.

On Thursday, the school board sent a letter to students asking parents to speak to their kids about the TikTok trend.

“The most recent TikTok trend is called the ‘devious licks’ challenge,” the letter reads, “where every month students are encouraged to participate in a task that can be derogatory or hurtful to others or themselves (e.g., vandalizing school property, stealing, assaulting school staff members or peers, exposing themselves).”

“The challenges that are being presented are very, very troubling,” said Michael Cohen, spokesperson for the EMSB.  “If any of [the students] were to follow up on these things at the school, it could be very problematic.”
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Read more: B.C. students stealing soap, dispensers from schools as part of TikTok challenge

Cohen said the EMSB simply wants to get ahead of the trend in its schools.

“We wanted to take an initiative, get to the parents,” he explained, “because a lot of the parents don’t even know what TikTok is, and it’s important for them to know there’s a concern and to talk to their kids about it.”

According to Cohen, the school board doesn’t know of any student taking part in such challenges in its schools for the time being.

However there have been reports of students doing the tasks at schools in other provinces.

In September, school districts in British Columbia complained about soap and soap dispensers being stolen from their schools. School officials blamed the incidents on the “devious licks” challenge.

The EMSB said in its letter to parents that it wants parents to also speak to kids about how to use online tools like TikTok responsibly.

— with files from Amy Judd

Click to play video: 'TikTok ‘challenge’ has B.C. school districts dealing with theft and vandalism of school property' TikTok ‘challenge’ has B.C. school districts dealing with theft and vandalism of school property
TikTok ‘challenge’ has B.C. school districts dealing with theft and vandalism of school property – Sep 16, 2021

 

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