KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) — A destructive social media challenge has some teens stealing and destroying property at their schools.
Several schools across the Miami Valley have reported that students are participating the“devious licks,” challenge where they are videotaped stealing things such as soap and hand sanitizer dispensers from bathroom and hallway walls and then the videos are posted to TikTok.
In an email to parents, Kettering City Schools said, “Please talk to your children and underscore the fact that we take this type of behavior very seriously and it will not be tolerated in our schools. While some students may think this type of behavior is funny, make no mistake that pulling soap dispensers off walls and removing them from school bathrooms is vandalism and theft. If it is determined that a student is engaging in this type of activity, there will be consequences for the student, including suspension, possible expulsion, and possible criminal charges.”
According to the Kettering Police Department, about 15 incidents have been reported mostly at Kettering Middle School and Van Buren Middle School.
“The Schools are taking it very seriously, as are we. Criminal charges are being filed for theft, criminal mischief, criminal damaging, and things of that nature. The schools are also suspending students that are caught doing this,” said Officer Tyler Johnson, the public information officer for Kettering Police Department.
Social media experts said the dopamine released with each comment and like is particularly enticing for young users.
“What we really have is virtual peer pressure. And I think it’s a lot more difficult to address because our social media use is so individualistic, and you really don’t know it’s taking place until you start seeing the overactions,” said Derrick Green, Chair and Assistant Professor of Communication at Cedarville University. “I do think the desire to have a video that achieves a certain amount of likes and goes viral definitely impacts behavior and motivates some of the behavior that we’re seeing,” he said.