Social media trend sparks fire hazard concerns

Social media trend sparks fire hazard concerns

SHERMAN, Texas (CBS) - The latest social media trend is shocking fire officials across the country. They’re asking teens to think twice before participating.

Kids and teens all over the world are hooked on the social media app TikTok. Short videos are recorded and shared across the platform to gain popularity, or go viral.

The latest viral challenge, known as the outlet challenge, is sparking big concern for fire officials.

“It’s really just about the same thing as sticking a fork in the wall,” Morgan Metcalf, Denison Emergency Management coordinator, said.

A plug is partially put into a wall outlet and a penny is dropped onto the exposed prongs. The desired outcome are sparks and becoming the next internet sensation, but doing so will also result in electrical damage, fire, electrocution and possibly a charge for arson.

“With this particular type of challenge, you could actually start a fire inside your wall, which you don’t even know about immediately and it could do a lot of damage,” Metcalf said.

“If you start a fire, that’s considered arson, whether your intentions were to burn down something or not, that’s just part of the consequence that comes with it,” said Jaycob Miller, with Howe Fire Department.

The National Fire Protection Association sent press releases urging teens to not participate in this challenge because of the serious dangers.

This comes after two high school students in Massachusetts face charges of attempted arson and malicious damage to property after they tried the challenge at school.

Fire officials wouldn’t demonstrate the challenge for me, because it’s too dangerous, but they encourage parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of internet trends like the outlet challenge.

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