Social media challenge leads to increase in vandalism at school


HALIFAX – According to digital anthropologist Giles Crouch, the TikTok social media trend known as “The Devious Licks challenge” is rapidly spreading online.

“It goes down to Latin America and it worked very quickly all the way to Canada,” Crouch said. “It can be seen across Canada.

The challenge features students destroying school sanitary ware while damaging and stealing other school property.

“Soap dispensers are coming out of the walls,” said Reign Sherrington, the brother of a student in the Halifax area. “I heard at Halifax West High School that there were sinks sticking out of the walls.

TikTok removes “Devious Licks” posts from its platform. Crouch said the students probably think this is just a prank, not vandalism.

“It’s sort of the digital version of the fire alarm from over 20 years ago, when we were in high school,” Crouch said.

The problem is serious enough that Millwood High School sent a note to parents.

Jenna Kedy is a student at Bay View High School.

“Our school sent out a huge email last week saying they wanted people to stop breaking soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers,” Kedy said. “And then I started hearing from friends and seeing videos on my TikTok feed of people at various schools around Halifax smashing soap dispensers and smashing paper towel racks.”

Crouch said young people often take part in a social media activity to join the crowd and get a peer app.

“They’re more concerned with gaining social acceptance,” Crouch said.

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