TikTok challenges causing problems in Timmins, Ont., police say
Monthly 'challenges' being posted on TikTok are causing problems in Timmins, Ont., police said Tuesday.
The challenges border on criminality, police said, and could lead to criminal charges.
The September challenge was to steal from and damage restrooms at schools, causing problems in some Canadian cities. TikTok has said it has banned the challenges, but they quickly reappear.
The October challenge is to slap a school staff member on the behind, while November's calls for people to "kiss your friends' girlfriend at school."
"The Timmins Police Service finds it necessary to issue a public advisory in regards to intentional acts of damage, theft, or assault linked to any partial or full participation in a social media inspired challenge targeting intermediate and high school students," police said in a news release Tuesday.
"It would appear that, depending on the month, young persons are enticed or encouraged to perform some sort of action against private property, school property, or another unwitting person in order to acquire temporary and fleeting social media attention."
Police spokesperson Marc Depatie told Lydia Chubak of CTV News the consequences of such behaviour could be criminal
“Regardless of the age, even if you’re a young offender, you will have a criminal record and this can inhibit your travel plans, it can limit your employment opportunities," Depatie said.
"It sullied your reputation. There’s any number of reasons why persons should not be participating in this type of illicit challenge.”
Parents and guardians are being encouraged to talk with their school-aged children about the dangers of participating, including the problems criminal charges could cause long-term.
"In most cases, the suggested activity is criminal in nature, and could result in a Young Offender Criminal Record which has the potential to limit employment opportunities, hinder travel, and most certainly sully an individual's reputation," police said.
The recent challenges could lead to charges of vandalism, assault or even sexual assault, police said, particularly because students have to upload a video of them committing the act to TikTok.
"Any participation in such activities can trigger a police investigation by the Timmins Police Service," the release said.
"Should the evidence support the prospect of conviction in criminal court, the applicable charges will be laid."
Anyone with information about persons tampering or damaging school property or taking part in a challenge that results in any form of assault is encouraged to report the matter to police at 705-264-1201, or call Crime Stoppers at its tip line, 1-800-222-8477, or online.
- With notes from Lydia Chubak