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"Devious Licks" or Vandalism?

Abigail Moore | Contributing Writer

If you are anything like me, you spend hours of your day scrolling through the famed social media app TikTok. While I am a big proponent for social media being a positive force, allowing everyone to connect, there are certainly negatives that come with it. With more kids returning to school after months of adjusting to their new lives inside, the Internet was sure to wreak havoc on schools, teachers, and administrators across the country.

One notable trend that has torn through middle and high schools is the “#deviouslicks challenge.” Schools across Connecticut alone, have reported thousands of dollars worth of damage every school day according to NBC Connecticut. In many school districts, administrators are speaking up, telling families to speak with their children about these irresponsible behaviors.

School bathrooms have shut down and been completely vandalized. But will this ever end? As of March 2021, 62% of TikTok users were between the ages of 10 and 29 in the United States according to Oberlo. TikTok is kept afloat by its young users, who have content targeted towards them, to keep them engaged and using the app. It is not uncommon for social media apps to appeal to their users' likes and interests, tracking data and watched videos. Apps like TikTok rely on trends to keep usage and engagement up.

Many trends are short-lived. They reach a peak and are forgotten about. Next year we will be looking back and say, “oh remember that one TikTok trend that was causing a lot of problems for schools?” and the response will most likely be, “Which one?” Trends appeal to certain groups of users, or demographics. This is why we see these issues of vandalism or “devious licks” most in middle and high schools, not here at Eastern. And while trends are entertaining, and 15 seconds to 3-minute-long videos are certainly fun to watch, TikTok has done its fair share of damage—and will continue to impact young people across the globe. While these “devious licks” can be funny—they are also just straight vandalism.

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