The viral TikTok challenge involves teenagers plugging part of a charger into the socket, before using a penny to create a spark by touching the exposed prongs.
Replicating viral and potentially dangerous challenges and then posting the results on social media is a ridiculous trend. Despite being warned by experts, people keep creating and participating in potentially hazardous activities and just when you think you have seen it all, they surprise you with yet another. The latest challenge making the rounds of the internet is the electrical "Outlet Challenge" where teens are seen plugging part of a charger into the socket, before using a penny to create a spark by touching the exposed prongs. Authorities are now warning teens about the viral game that began on TikTok, saying that people performing it are at a risk being electrocuted or starting a fire.
Fire Station Manager in Carlisle, Cumbria, Michael Clusker, dismissed this "dangerous" game and warned that it could potentially spark deadly flames, reports The SUN. "The outcome from this is that someone will get seriously hurt. Every year there are numbers of people killed by electrical shocks. It can kill you if it gets you right. Anything that interferes with electrical equipment - unless you are a qualified electrician - is very dangerous," he explained. Holding social media responsible for broadcasting such deadly games Mr. Clusker continued, "I do think social media is an issue, giving people ideas that are probably not ideal. People should take responsibility for their own actions."
Indicating the repercussions of such pointless boasting, he added, "In my 25 years in the job I have seen the consequences of people overstepping the mark when it comes to showing off. We would encourage people not to mimic or copy some of the reckless stunts that are commonly viewed on social media. When emergency services do attend these incidents, it does take up vital resources that should be available for other emergencies. People take risks. Some in vehicles, driving recklessly. You could get a similar outcome as someone who messes with a switch."
The effects of this challenge were witnessed in Massachusetts last month when firefighters found two burned outlets and a cellphone charger with a penny fused to its prongs, reports CNN. Two students involved in this activity were said to be 15-year-old male students, according to Plymouth police. Both face charges of attempted arson and malicious damage to property. "I don't think students comprehend the reality that they can be electrocuted and killed, or start a fire," Plymouth Fire Chief Edward Bradley said. Urging parents to talk to their children about it, he said, "Parents need to talk to their children and tell them if you see this stuff, don't try to imitate it."
In a letter to fire departments, Massachusetts Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey warned how the "unsafe use of electricity and fire" in this viral challenge could start a fire. "It involves using the plug part of a phone charger, partially inserting it into the wall outlet, and then sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs," wrote Ostroskey. "The result is sparks, electrical system damage, and in some cases fire."