The “chapstick challenge” is a deadly fad that has been circulating on TikTok recently, joining other harmful trends that were previously popular on social media sites. Critics of the challenge believe it encourages suicidal thoughts and puts vulnerable young people at risk for suicide.
While there are other variations of this challenge circulating on TikTok, the most common is a person opening a brand new bottle of chapstick and applying it for the first time, then claiming they would kill themselves the day the tube of chapstick runs out.
Many think that TikTok has once again provided its members with a platform to risk their lives with this challenge. Several videos appearing on social media with the hashtag #chapstickchallenge show teens professing to commit suicide.
Why is the TikTok chapstick challenge considered dangerous?
The criteria of this challenge are a bit fuzzy as there are other online challenges that require a chapstick or similar lip care product. The problem we are being warned about is when individuals submit videos of themselves with a fresh new chapstick on their lips. When they end their regimen, they admit they will commit the day the chapstick they just started using runs out. In a nutshell, it’s a video counting down to their demise.
TikTok uses chapstick in similar iterations of this challenge to hide scars from self-harm. None of these versions are safe and no one should try them under any circumstances. “This is the only chapstick I have left,” commented one user, Ashley Soris, who tried this challenge. Fellow users flooded her video with comments urging her not to continue with the challenge and injure herself.
Response to the “chapstick challenge”
Concerned users ask participants to stop, think and take mental health seriously. According to a user
“I realize you’re going through a rough patch right now, but this isn’t a pattern.” You inspire other students to do the same.”
The explosion of such challenges reflects the romanticization of death and demonstrates the terrifying length to which some individuals would go for approval or attention. While some users were tough in resisting the challenge, others tried to be helpful and friendly. One comment read:
“You are cherished. Don’t try this.”
So there’s a labello challenge where every time you use your chapstick and it ends, you kill yourself. How did it become a challenge? Do not follow these people, they are already going through so much in life that they want attention or even take people with them.
— Anouar ??? (@anouarfrk) June 18, 2022
Actions performed in response to the chapstick challenge
TikTok has denied that a challenge exists. According to a statement to EuroNews:
“At TikTok, the safety and well-being of our community are our top priorities and we have seen no indication of such a trend.” As part of our commitment to keep our community safe, our review will continue, and if we discover any information that violates our standards, it will be removed.”
In France, where the movement appears to be gaining momentum, the government has taken the situation extremely seriously and issued a Twitter warning.
Other Malicious TikTok Trends That Have Already Gone Viral
TikTok is notorious for instigating trends that encourage self-harm and mental anxiety. Other incredibly popular trends included:
1) “Blackout challenge”, where participants had to hold their breath until they blacked out.
2) “The Penny Challenge,” where TikTok users plugged a charger halfway into a wall outlet and then held a penny on the exposed prongs. The person could receive an electric shock, cause a fire or be permanently injured.
3) “The Milk Crate Challenge” requires participants to climb a structure made up of milk crates organized like stairs.
No matter how hard the backend staff work to remove these dangerous movies from their app, certain tasks like the “chapstick challenge” can come through the cracks. Users are advised to immediately report anyone who advocates for or participates in the “Chapstick Challenge” or any other similar video encouraging suicide or self-harm.