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Sudbury area mother issues warning about 'dangerous' TikTok challenge

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A northern Ontario mother is warning parents and guardians about a social media challenge that tricks others into becoming an unsuspecting victim -- including her daughter, who broke her arm.

The Grade 8 student in the Greater Sudbury area now has a broken humerus after participating in what turned out to be a TikTok prank called the 'Skull Breaker Challenge', Chantelle Gorham told CTV News.

It’s now preventing her daughter from participating in her everyday activities, Gorham said.

"I’m an active ringette player, I snowboard, I’m an artist. I can’t do all that now because of my arm, so I’m angry but also upset," the teen said.

"What it entails is two people approach a third person, that third person is normally in the middle and they say 'okay we’re all going to jump' and so you jump and the outside people instead of jumping, take out the feet of the middle person that is jumping," the concerned parent said.

"Ultimately, the goal is to cause damage to break your skull because they often land on their head."

Gorham wants parents, guardians, as well as other children to know that this TikTok prank is still circulating and to be aware of the damage it could cause.

"Your kids are at risk. If someone asks them to jump, it’s no longer an innocuous suggestion or game. There could be some serious damage and people need to know how violent that fall is when you’re airborne and someone takes your legs out from under you," she said.

The Greater Sudbury Police Service is investigating the incident and said there could be serious consequences when it comes to certain trends and challenges on social media.

"There are some that are dangerous to yourself and others and in those situations, criminal charges could apply, including mischief, theft, assault, sexual assault, indecent acts," said Kaitlyn Dunn, a spokesperson for Sudbury police.

"So, really taking into mind why you’re doing the challenge and what the outcome could be. No trend or challenge is worth a criminal charge in order to gain viewership."

A Sudbury-based agency called Compass, which deals with child and youth mental health, said although teenagers may physically look mature, their brains are still developing.

"Part of your brain that’s developing, that controls what we call 'executive functioning,' which is your decision making, risk assessment, being able to think about if and when, is really in development," said Heather Haynes, a clinical manager with Compass.

"So, teenagers, generally speaking, have limited capacity to think about the consequences of their actions."

As for Gorham’s daughter, she will be seen by her doctor in a couple of weeks and it will be determined at that point if she will need surgery.

Social media challenges and trends invite people to create their own videos based on performing a certain task.

In its Community Guidelines, TikTok said, "We do not permit users to share content depicting, promoting, normalizing or glorifying dangerous acts that may lead to serious injury or death. We also do not allow content which promotes or endorses collective participation in dangerous or harmful activities that violate any aspect of our community guidelines."

The social media platform advises users to report to them content that violates the community guidelines.

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