Social media is no friend of teens. All across the country teenagers have been arrested and face juvenile criminal charges for participating in TikTok challenges. These young offenders got caught up in the social media rush for “clicks” and “likes” and found themselves in big trouble with their schools and the law.
- A Florida teen was charged with criminal mischief and theft after participating in a TikTok challenge called devious licks (a “lick” is a successful theft). The 15-year-old stole and destroyed school property in order to film himself for the online challenge.
- In Pennsylvania, three teens face criminal mischief charges for destroying school property.
- In Virginia, one teen faces criminal charges and six students face school punishment for leaving school grounds to damage to public property at a nearby park.
In Texas, criminal mischief is charged for acts of vandalism and the destruction of someone else’s property. This can include graffiti, breaking the window of a car, scratching or keying a car, or breaking a door or window at a place of business or a home, for example.
A young person will be charged with criminal mischief for “pranks” in school, like plugging a school toilet or sink so it overflows, tearing soap dispensers off a wall, breaking a toilet, spray painting or writing on lockers or walls or a school bus.
The term “mischief” sounds like this isn’t a serious crime but depending on the amount of the damages and property losses, criminal mischief can be charged as a Class A, B or C misdemeanor. It could be charged as a felony if the damage to property was more than $1,500 or involved the use of a firearm or explosives.
An even more problematic TikTok challenge sweeping the nation involves “slapping a teacher.”
- An 18-year-old Louisiana teen faces up to five years in lockup for felony battery for attacking her 64-year-old teacher. She can be charged as an adult.
- A South Carolina teacher was hit in the back of the head by an elementary school student who was expelled, but no criminal charges were filed in that case.
- Two 7th graders in North Carolina slapped a substitute teacher and the school district said it planned to petition the court for assault charges against the students.
These criminal shenanigans follow on the heels of last year’s TikTok “skull breaker” challenge that saw teenagers tricking their friends into falling.
- A New Jersey student suffered a closed head injury and concussion with seizures after two 13-year-olds caused him to fall. The youngsters were arrested and charged with 3rd degree aggravated assault and 3rd degree endangering an injured victim.
Who is Responsible for TikTok Assaults? Not TikTok.
TikTok says that it doesn’t enable activities that violate the law. “We prohibit the trade, sale, promotion, and use of certain regulated goods, as well as the depiction, promotion, or facilitation of criminal activities, including human exploitation,” TikTok wrote on its website.
TikTok hasn’t been held liable for the costly and damaging effects of these teen challenges. It’s the teenagers who are being held accountable.
If you or your son or daughter is facing charges in juvenile court or adult criminal court for criminal mischief, property damage, or assault, call the criminal defense attorneys at Lee and Wood, LP: 817-678-6771 or contact us online.