The Chapstick Challenge is an unsafe trend going around TikTok recently. What is this problematic trend and why should we be aware of its dangers? Read on to find out.
What is the Chapstick Challenge?
There appear to be multiple versions of this challenge doing rounds on the social media platform, TikTok. Each version is more horrifying than the last. While the definition of the challenge itself is ambiguous, the danger it entails is not. Especially because certain versions of this viral challenge can be extremely triggering and disturbing. Readers are warned to proceed with caution. Trigger Warning: Words like suicide and self-harm are used.
The most prevalent version of the challenge includes people opening an unused tube of ChapStick and applying it on camera. They then declare that once the tube is empty, they will commit suicide. Multiple videos of users exhibiting intentions to commit suicide are now circulating on the app under the viral hashtag #chapstickchallenge. Another controversial version of this challenge involves users self-harming. Then use ChapStick or balm to cover up the injury before continuing to self-harm.
Why Do Such Challenges Go Viral? Addressing the Problem
Such trends often slip through the loopholes of TikTok’s violations and guidelines. The #chapstickchallenge for instance goes unnoticed by the rules under the guise of a harmless brand name. These challenges prove that TikTok has time and again, provided a platform for the promotion of mental and physical trauma.
What’s also important to remember is that the application’s user base comprises mostly young influential teens and pre-teens. The existence of such dangerous challenges for unsuspecting and unsupervised youth is a matter of growing concern.
The French Government, for instance, issued a public warning against this popular challenge. Likewise, many are condemning the romanticization and normalization of mental and physical trauma. Some even believe that these are deliberate stunts in an attempt to gain validation and attention from the public.
However, there are also many who are opting for a more empathetic approach to understanding this challenge. They see it more as a cry for help rather than a thoughtless stunt. Addressing the problem at its root may provide the solution for it. They believe in prioritizing resources and destigmatizing mental health issues. The belief is that the community as a whole should be held responsible and not just the platform of TikTok
People don't attempt suicide because of a chapstick TikTok trend. They attempt suicide because they are suffering.— Abbie Richards (@abbieasr) May 11, 2022
We could be prioritizing resources & destigmatizing mental health issues. But ya sure, let's keep blaming our problems on TikTok challenges no one is doing.
TikTok’s Statement in Response
In their statement in response to heavy criticism, TikTok altogether denied the existence of this challenge. They said, “At TikTok, the safety and well-being of our community is our priority and we have not found any evidence that such a trend exists. As part of our commitment to keeping our community safe, our review will continue, and should we find content that violates our policies, it will be removed.”
I am a 20-year-old Liberal Arts student, studying at Amity University Mumbai. I am majoring in Political Science with a minor in English. Being an avid reader and writer, I have a penchant for reviewing written work in my spare time as a hobby. I am also a trained singer with an Artist Youtube Channel.