A hazardous TikTok challenge left a 16-year-old boy from North Carolina critically injured, with burns on almost 80% of his body.
Mason Dark, along with his friends, attempted to create a homemade torch using a spray paint can and a lighter. However, the experiment led to an explosion, engulfing the teenagers in flames.
“He’s unrecognizable. Completely unrecognizable,” Mason’s mother, Holli Dark, shared with WRAL.
The teenagers from Wake Forest, a town situated approximately 17 miles northeast of Raleigh, participated in a treacherous TikTok challenge where users utilize flammable aerosols to construct mini flamethrowers. Regrettably, the can exploded instead of just extinguishing the flame.
- “Everyone heard a loud explosion. Then Mason came running out, trying to remove his shirt,” Dark explained.
In an attempt to alleviate the pain, Mason jumped into a nearby river, only to emerge with scorched skin.
Both actions exacerbated his condition: Mason sustained a T-shaped third-degree burn on his back from tearing off the burning shirt and faces a heightened risk of infection from the river water.
Mason was quickly taken to the UNC Burn Center with burns on 76% of his body, as reported by his mother.
“His appearance when he first arrived and how he looks now is vastly different,” said Dark.
Mason has already undergone multiple surgeries for skin grafts. His mother compared the process of watching her son’s skin slowly heal to seeding a lawn.
The young athlete, an active football player and track runner, is expected to spend the next six months at the burn center.
The Growing Menace of Dangerous TikTok Challenges
Consequently, many are demanding stricter regulations on the platform and urging TikTok to intensify their efforts in curbing the spread of these hazardous challenges.
TikTok has previously stated that they are committed to promoting a safe and positive app environment. The platform has taken action to remove content related to dangerous challenges and has implemented Community Guidelines that prohibit content promoting self-harm or dangerous acts.
However, many argue that TikTok needs to do more to prevent the spread of dangerous challenges and to hold users accountable for their actions on the platform.
In response to the growing concern, TikTok has launched a Safety Center that provides resources for users and parents to learn about the platform’s safety features and policies, as well as tips for staying safe online.
While these efforts are a step in the right direction, it remains crucial for parents, educators, and the community to continue working together to educate teens on the dangers of participating in harmful social media challenges and to promote responsible online behavior.
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